Myanmar pro-democracy politician Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday appointed the influential former speaker of the lower house to lead a legal advisory panel in the new parliament dominated by her National League for Democracy (NLD) party, local media reported.
Shwe Mann, who served as speaker of the lower house of parliament for five years under the previous Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) until last month when deputies who won the Nov. 8 general elections took their seats, is considered an ally of Aung San Suu Kyi.
As a former army general, 68-year-old Shwe Man also has deep connections to the powerful military, which had run the country for five decades until recent reforms brought in a quasi-civilian administration.
He said last Friday during his farewell speech at the final session of the outgoing parliament that he would consider any position that she might want him to fill in the NLD-led government.
As chairman of the Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission, Shwe Mann will provide support to parliamentary committees as they amend existing laws and draft new legislation, according to the online journal The Irrawaddy.
Win Myint, an NLD politician and the new speaker of the lower house, announced the 23 members of the commission, which is a mix of lawmakers and prominent professionals, on Friday.
USDP member Ko Ko Naing will serve as vice chairman. The commission’s remaining members come from other political parties and include former military officials, retired civil servants, diplomats and legal experts, according to The Irrawaddy.
The members have legal protection so they can speak candidly with parliamentary deputies about legislation and make recommendations.
Shwe Mann set up the legislative oversight panel in 2012 to support lawmakers and network between committees.
His appointment comes as lawmakers prepare to choose a new national leader to replace outgoing President Thein Sein, who will remain in office until the end of March.
Aung San Suu Kyi cannot become president because of a constitutional provision barring citizens with foreign spouses or children from seeking the office.
Nevertheless, she has said that she will operate above the president, who will likely be another NLD politician.