Who is he?
Nai Thet Lwin is an ethnic Mon politician in Myanmar and vice chairman of the Mon National Party (MNP). He was born in 1940 in Karen State and studied at Moulmein University in neighboring Mon State. He helped found the Mon National Democratic Front, led an anti-government movement during the 1988 pro-democracy demonstrations, and ran for a parliamentary seat in the 1990 election. He has served as the vice chairman of the MNP since it was created in 2012.
Why is he in the news?
On March 22 the National League for Democracy (NLD) nominated Nai Thet Lwin as its minister of ethnic affairs, a newly created position. The portfolio is tasked with improving the government’s relations with ethnic minorities. The ministry will also support national reconciliation and the peace process with armed ethnic groups.
What can we expect from him?
His experience in Mon politics should help him guide the NLD’s policies on ethnic minorities and win the party additional credibility among ethnic leaders. Under Nai Thet Lwin’s leadership, the Ethnic Affairs Ministry is expected to focus on improving the rights of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities and furthering the peace process. He will likely play a key role in advancing the interests of ethnic minorities in discussions over federalism in ethnic states. Nai Thet Lwin may also be able to convince holdout parties to sign the October 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement due to his ties to the New Mon State Party, an ethnic armed group that refused to sign the agreement.
Thumbnail image of the Mon National Party flag. Nai Thet Lwin is the vice chairman of the MNP. Source: Wikimedia, public domain.