Military and allies seek NLD-backed assembly speaker’s impeachment

The military-aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) filed a motion on Thursday to impeach the NLD-backed lower house and assembly speaker T Khun Myat – the first time in a decade lawmakers have sought to impeach a speaker.

The motion was signed by 110 MPs and submitted to deputy speaker Tun Tun Hein on Wednesday, then discussed the next day when T Khun Myat was absent. Tun Tun Hein chaired the discussions in his place.

The signatories have not yet been announced, though most or all are USDP or military MPs.

T Khun Myat’s 2018 bid for speakership was backed by the NLD government. Military-appointed MPs and the USDP make up the NLD’s largest opposition in parliament.

Sai Tun Sein, a USDP MP and signatory to the motion, accused T Khun Myat of permitting multiple constitutional violations as speaker.

He called the speaker’s approval of NLD attempts to amend the union charter while blocking several USDP and military amendment proposals “unconstitutional.”

The speaker’s rejection of USDP lower house MP Maung Myint’s proposal to convene the National Defence and Security Council to address the Covid-19 crisis also went against the charter, he said.

Sai Tun Sein also voiced concerns that a USDP proposal to lower the price of electricity rates after the NLD raised was blocked by the speaker.

He also demanded the government better protect people from “armed bandits” – a term Myanmar’s past military dictators often used to refer to ethnic armed groups.

Tun Tun Hein asked for a list of MPs wanting to discuss the motion on Friday.

NLD spokesperson Monywa Aung Shin told Myanmar Now he disagrees with the USDP accusations, calling it an attempt to sow even more chaos in an already tumultuous election year.

“This should not be happening as we convene to address more urgent matters like the Covid-19 pandemic, and as the election draws near,” he said.

T Khun Myat, who is ethnically Kachin but from Shan state, and also goes by the name Jefferey, was elected from deputy speaker to speaker of the lower house when his predecessor Win Myint became President in March 2018.

A lawyer by training, he led the national convention that drafted the military’s constitution in 2008. He served as director general of the attorney general’s office at the time.

He was elected in 2010 as a USDP candidate representing Kutkai in the lower house, where he chaired the Committee on Bills. He was considered very close to ex-USDP chair Shwe Mann.

T Khun Myat was reelected in 2015 but soon found himself torn between NLD efforts at constitutional reform and the USDP and military MPs’ opposition to it, publicly reprimanding several military MPs for using foul language and shouting at NLD MPs.

He resigned from the party that year and serves now as an independent.

The Shan Herald Agency for News has alleged he was the leader of a Kutkai-based people’s militia that was involved in the illegal drug trade. He denies this.

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