Ousted MPs defy junta by appointing new government ministers

A committee of elected lawmakers who were unable to take their seats in parliament because of last month’s coup has appointed new government ministers in defiance of the ruling military council.

The Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) announced on Tuesday that it has named four acting ministers to serve in its parallel government.

The move was necessary to enable the members of the CRPH to “fulfil their duties as the civilian government,” the committee said in a statement.

The new acting ministers will occupy a total of eight cabinet positions, according to the statement.

Zin Mar Aung, who was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw last year to represent Yangon’s Yankin township, was named foreign minister, while Lwin Ko Latt, the lower house MP for Thanlyin township in Yangon, was appointed Union Government Office minister.

Tin Htun Naing, another MP from the National League for Democracy (NLD), was given three key economic posts. He will head the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry, the Ministry of Investment and International Communications, and the Ministry of Commerce.

Dr Zaw Wai Soe, who is the rector of the University of Medicine (1) Yangon and a prominent figure in the Civil Disobedience Movement to end military rule, will also lead three ministries: the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Health and Sports.

The CRPH also stated that it would continue to appoint other suitable individuals to serve in its provisional government.

The military seized power on February 1, just hours before parliament was set to convene and confirm the results of last year’s election, which the NLD won in a landslide.

The CRPH was formed on February 5, days after a new military-led council assumed power with promises to hold elections and restore civilian government next year.

On February 15, the junta charged the 17 members of the CRPH with incitement under section 505b of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The committee is seen as part of an effort to deny legitimacy to the newly installed regime, which has met with massive resistance from people from all walks of life.

Despite brutal crackdowns that have resulted in dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests, protests have continued daily for nearly a month.

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