Myanmar Junta Proxy Party Chief Earns Support From Former Colleagues

By The Irrawaddy 12 December 2022

Former ministers from the quasi-civilian 2010-15 government have been advising U Khin Yi, the chairman of the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

Since being appointed in October, U Khin Yi has traveled extensively, devoting himself to inflaming nationalism, slamming the National League for Democracy and encouraging party members to fight the resistance.

He has challenged resistance forces to try to kill him and urged USDP members to fight together when the time is ripe.

Former president’s office minister U Aung Min, Bago Region chief minister U Nyan Win and Karen State chief U Zaw Min met U Khin Yi in Bago on Friday. The three enthusiastically provided help, U Khin Yi posted on Facebook.

U Aung Min, former minister and peace negotiator, talks to USDP members in Bago on December 9. / U Khin Yi Facebook

U Khin Yi says a lion’s spirit is engraved in every USDP member’s heart, comparing the party to a pride. The party’s logo is a lion.

Under dictator Than Shwe, U Khin Yi was police chief, U Aung Min was rail minister, U Nyan Win was foreign minister and Major General Zaw Min headed the Karen State government. Under President Thein Sein, U Khin Yi was the immigration and population minister. The four worked together on U Thein Sein’s peace process. U Aung Min acted as the chief negotiator with ethnic armed groups at the time.

U Nyan Win, an ex-foreign minister, talks to USDP members in Bago on December 9. / U Khin Yi Facebook

The other three kept a low profile after being defeated in the 2015 general election. But U Khin Yi, as a henchman in successive regimes, was involved in planning the 2021 coup while USDP vice-chair. He organized pro-military rallies in which purported sympathizers rampaged through Yangon, punching and stabbing anyone opposing them.

He was appointed immigration and population minister in Min Aung Hlaing’s regime before stepping down to steer the USDP through the election which the regime plans to hold next year.

U Aung Min and U Zaw Min have reappeared at junta events. With the military constitutionally guaranteed 25 percent of parliamentary seats, the USDP is expected to win enough seats for Min Aung Hlaing to be named president.