Son of Myanmar’s Failed Peace Negotiator Spotted on USDP Campaign Trail

By The Irrawaddy 6 March 2023

When the vice-chairman of the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party U Myo Zaw Thein traveled to eastern Bago Region on a campaign trip Tuesday, he was accompanied by U Htoo Char Aung, son of U Aung Min – who led the Thein Sein government’s failed peace plan with ethnic armed groups.

Dr. Htoo Char Aung graduated from the Defense Services Medical Academy. He left the military to contest for a seat in the Bago regional parliament at the 2020 general election, but lost.

When USDP’s chairman, ex-Brigadier General Khin Yi, canvassed in Bago in December, U Aung Min joined him. Observers believe he was seeking blessings for his son, who plans to run in the junta’s proposed poll. U Aung Min also ran for the USDP in the 2015 polls in Kayah State but failed to get elected.

U Aung Min served in the Myanmar army for 35 years before retiring as a major-general in 2002.

After hanging up his military uniform, he served as the country’s Railways Transportation minister under the former military regime (2003-2011) and the quasi-civilian government that took office in April 2011.

In August 2012, he was appointed as a President’s Office minister and given a mandate that included guiding peace talks between the central government and ethnic rebel groups.

To fulfill that mandate, he headed the Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) and invited ethnic armed groups to join the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). However, the invitation was spurned by powerful ethnic armed groups including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and the peace talks stalled due to disagreements among the military.

U Aung Min largely disappeared from public view after the National League for Democracy came to power in 2015, before resurfacing at the USDP event in Bago in December last year.

Observers believe he is now laying a path to power for his son, leveraging his political and military connections to benefit his son in the regime’s proposed election.