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Ex-navy chief new vice president

"Reform-minded" Nyan Tun has few ties to former military junta

New Vice President Nyan Tun, right, in Parliament after his swearing in in Naypyidaw New Vice President Nyan Tun, right, in Parliament after his swearing in in Naypyidaw
  • Daniel Wynn, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • August 15, 2012
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Myanmar’s parliament on Wednesday appointed the country’s naval chief, Admiral Nyan Tun, as one of its two vice presidents.

Nyan Tun, 58, took the oath of office in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital, after parliament endorsed his nomination by the military MPs who control 25 percent of its seats.

Nyan Tun replaces former army general Tin Aung Myint Oo, a renowned hardliner, whose resignation in May for health reasons was officially announced last month.

Military sources said that Nyan Tun, who was vice naval chief during the former military government’s rule, has a clean background and is respected in military circles.

Kyaw Linn Oo, a political commentator in Yangon, described the new vice president as a leader who will be able to work with President Thein Sein to further the country’s reform process.

“I always expected that the military would only choose a top general for this position. But luckily, their choice is one of the reform-minded,” he said, adding that unlike Tin Aung Myint Oo, Nyan Tun did not have close relations with the former military junta.

Myanmar has two vice presidential posts, one of which must be a military nominee.

The process of filling this vacancy dragged on for weeks, during which it was widely reported that the army was going to nominate Myint Swe, chief minister of Yangon.

But Myint Swe did not meet the criteria for the post because a close member of his family holds Australian citizenship.

Under Myanmar’s constitution, neither the president nor vice presidents can have family members who are foreign citizens; a provision that some say was originally intended to prevent pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from achieving those positions. Aung San Suu Kyi’s late husband and two of her sons are British citizens.
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