Bloomberg News

Myanmar Lawmakers Know Little About New Appointed Vice President

August 16, 2012

Myanmar Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar opposition leader at the lower house of parliament in Naypyidaw on August 7, 2012. Source: AFP/Getty Images

Myanmar lawmakers struggled to find out details about a new vice president appointed yesterday, underscoring the military’s lingering influence as the country shifts toward greater political openness.

Naval chief Nyan Tun was nominated by army-appointed lawmakers for the post, replacing one of two vice presidents who resigned last month. The military is granted 25 percent of parliamentary seats by the constitution and has the right to nominate one of the top three leaders in the country.

“We don’t know about him and have never seen him before,” Myo Aung, a lawmaker with the main opposition party headed by former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, said by phone. “Since we didn’t see his background and his biodata, right now we can’t evaluate how supportive he will be with democratic reforms.”

Myanmar’s shift toward democracy since a 2010 election ended five decades of direct military rule prompted the U.S. and European Union to ease sanctions, encouraging companies including Coca-Cola Co. (KO:US), Unilever and General Electric Co. to invest in the country of 64 million people that borders China and India.

President Thein Sein is pushing to create jobs as his ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party looks ahead to elections in 2015. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, which boycotted the 2010 nationwide vote, won 43 of 45 by- election seats up for grabs in April, signaling a challenge to the country’s power structure.

Under the constitution, the president is chosen from three vice-presidents in the event of a vacancy. The process to confirm Nyan Tun took about 20 minutes, said Tin Nwe Oo, a lawmaker with the National Democratic Force, a smaller opposition party.

“It’s difficult to understand why we as parliamentary members didn’t get his biography before his approval,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at

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