President Thein Sein last week sacked his ambitious rival Shwe Mann before party headquarters were sealed off with police trucks in the middle of the night, sparking worries about Myanmar's first free elections in 25 years set for Nov8.
The November election, seen as a crucial test of the country's reforms, is expected to be won by opposition leader Aung Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, but she is banned from becoming president under the military-drafted constitution.
Shwe Mann, who has stayed on as the speaker of the lower house, fought back on Thursday when his supporters across the political spectrum rejected a controversial bill that could have led to his impeachment.
The vote underscored the former general's sway among rank-and-file lawmakers and exposed divisions in the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), whose regular MPs were angered by the way in which Shwe Mann was removed from the leadership.
"I understand there are some people in our party who prefer Shwe Mann and are disappointed about the way this happened," Tin Naing Thein, USDP's new secretary general, told reporters at party headquarters in the capital Naypyitaw. "All of us are colleagues who have worked together for many years," he added. "So even if the leadership changes, I believe we are still united."
Under the recall bill opposed by Shwe Mann and Suu Kyi, lawmakers would lose their seats if 1 per cent of constituents signed a petition to recall them and the election commission found the complaint against them justified. In a rare close vote on Thursday, lawmakers postponed the discussion on the bill until the next session of parliament, which will come after the November election.
Related posts at following links:
Army Removed Burma Parliament Speaker Ex-General Shwe Mann