Burma Navy Chief Selected as New Vice President

By Saw Yan Naing 15 August 2012

Nyan Htun, the commander-in-chief of Burma’s navy, was selected as the country’s new vice president at about 10 am in Parliament in Naypyidaw on Wednesday.

Nyan Htun, 59, was nominated by military appointees, who hold 25 percent of the seats in Parliament. The state-run television station MRTV4 broadcast on Wednesday that Nyan Htun swore an oath at the Parliament immediately after being appointed as the new vice president.

Nyan Htun, a graduate of the 16th Intake of the elite Defense Services Academy, is believed to be loyal to Vice Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Burma’s armed forces. He and Min Aung Hlaing were close to the now-retired Snr-Gen Than Shwe, who ruled the country’s former military regime.

Admiral Nyan Htun replaced Tin Aung Myint Oo, the ex-vice president who resigned from his position after being diagnosed with cancer in May. Tin Aung Myint Oo was widely regarded as a hardliner.

Nyan Htun has visited foreign countries, mostly on navy-related business. He paid an official trip to Bangladesh in December 2011 to open an avenue for greater maritime cooperation between the two neighboring countries. He also met with Bangladesh Naval Chief Vice Adm Zahiruddin Ahmed and observed the Bangladesh Naval Headquarters and the Chittagong Naval Area.

In February 2010, he visited India, where he met with AK Antony, India’s Defense Minister, along with chiefs of Army Staff and Navy Staff and the Vice Chief of Air Staff.

As the new vice president, Nyan Htun will join another vice president, Sai Mauk Kham, who is an ethnic Shan. Burma has two vice presidents and one president. The current president is Thein Sein who took power in March 2011 after general elections. Burma will hold another general election in 2015.

Former general Myint Swe, the chief minister of Rangoon Division, was originally nominated as vice president on July 10, but was later disqualified after it was learned that one of his children lives in Australia and has become an Australian citizen.

It is understood that a committee led by Upper House Speaker Khin Aung Myint said Myint Swe was disqualified because of his family connection. Thus, the military appointees finally picked Nyan Htun as their candidate for vice president.