Myanmar's powerful ruling party chief Shwe Mann has been ousted from his post, party members said on Thursday, apparently after losing a power struggle with President Thein Sein three months before a general election.
Security forces surrounded the headquarters of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the capital, Naypyitaw, late on Wednesday and prevented members there from leaving.
Shwe Mann's ouster from the party follows rare discord within the establishment over the role of the military, which handed power to a semi-civilian government in 2011 but retains an effective veto over the political system.
"Shwe Mann isn't the chairman of the party anymore," said a USDP member of parliament.
"He's in good health and at home now."
Family members said Shwe Mann was at home in Naypyitaw when the soldiers took control of the USDP compound.
Shwe Mann still holds the position of speaker of parliament, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject.
Shwe Mann has been replaced as party chairman by the Htay Oo, who will also retain his position as vice chairman, another senior member of the party said.
Htay Oo is an ally of Thein Sein.
One of Thein Sein's closest aides Tin Naing Thein, resigned from his post of minister at the president's office on Wednesday and has become the new secretary general of the party, a senior party official said. He replaces Maung Maung Thein, a supporter of Shwe Mann.
Tension has risen between Thein Sein and Shwe Mann, both former top military officers, over the selection of candidates for the November election, party sources said earlier.
The two are old rivals and both have suggested they would accept the job of president after the Nov. 8 parliamentary election.
Shwe Mann has built ties with Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has called repeatedly for the military to withdraw from politics, and he supported an attempt in parliament in June to amend the constitution to limit the military's political role.
Tension rose on Wednesday after the USDP selected only 59 of 159 senior officers who retired from the military to run as candidates for the party in the coming election, the party sources said.