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Thein Sein sworn in as Burma’s president

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Retired General Thein Sein, the leader of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, was sworn in as president of Burma on Wednesday.

New President Thein Sein takes over as the new civilian head of the government.The oath of office was administered at a joint session of Parliament or Union Assembly in Naypyidaw attended by parliamentarians, the chief justice, the speakers of both houses and other guests.

After swearing in the new government, the State Peace and Development Council transfered the legislative power, executive power and judicial power to Union level members, according to a government statement.

The statement said that the State Peace and Development Council led by Senior General Than Shwe had been dissolved.

Thein Sein, 65, was appointed prime minister four years ago.  As president, he becomes the official head of state, assuming power at the blessing of his mentor Burma’s Senior General Than Shwe, who came to power in a coup 19 years ago and has ruled the country ever since.

During his inaugural speech, President Thein Sein said Burma must build a modern army or risk being bullied by other countries.

Burma's 8th president since independence, Thein Sein will serve as the head of a cabinet of 30 ministers holding 34 portfolios. The cabinet is overwhelmingly comprised of retired and serving military personnel. He is seen as one of the least corrupt members of the ruling junta generals, say observers.

The first session of Parliament, which started on January 31, will end on Wednesday. The next session will be held next year.

Three out of the five patrons of the USDP central panel are now in the new government, leaving Than Shwe and his former deputy Maung Aye, the only USDP members without an official role in the new government.

The USDP central executive committee is overwhelming filled by well known hard-liners and observers predict that the party will dominate Burma’s Parliament for years to come.

The first challenge for the incumbent president will be to tackle the widespread  corruption at every level in national and local affairs.

Outgoing military leader Than Shwe recently told new cabinet members to end corruption, which has been rampant in the military-led government.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 March 2011 17:11 )  

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