The Leaderboard: Nyan Tun

The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific. This post features Nyan Tun the recently sworn in Vice President of the Union of Myanmar.

Who is he?

Admiral Nyan Tun was previously named commander-in-chief of the navy in 2008, and is seen as a moderate and pro-reform. He is a graduate of Myanmar’s elite Defense Services Academy, and was noted for traveling abroad as the head of the navy.

Why is he in the news?

Mr. Nyan Tun was sworn in as Myanmar’s vice president on August 15, 2012. He replaces Tin Aung Myint Oo, who was seen as a hardliner and resigned in July, officially due to health reasons. There was speculation that he disagreed with President Thein Sein’s reform policies, which led to his departure. Tin Aung Myint Oo’s resignation and Nyan Tun’s subsequent nomination demonstrates the shrinking representation of those who were close to Than Shwe, the former leader of Myanmar’s military junta, in Myanmar’s top government spots.

What can we expect from him?

Vice President Nyan Tun was nominated by military appointed parliamentarians, who make up 25 percent of the legislature and have the right to nominate one of Myanmar’s two vice presidents. The other is selected by the upper house. The vice presidency is principally ceremonial; however he will sit on the National Defense and Security Council and Finance Commission.

If he is a moderate and pro-reform, his appointment should be a boon to President Thein Sein as he continues to restructure Myanmar. An anonymous military parliamentarian described Nyan Tun as “quiet” and “flexible,” and another source said he would be able to advise Thein Sein on regional issues.

It was previously believed that retired general and Yangon Region Chief Minister Myint Swe would receive the nomination. Under Myanmar law, the president and two vice presidents cannot have a close relative who holds foreign citizenship; Myint Swe’s son holds an Australian passport. That Myint Swe was not nominated can been seen positively, as it demonstrates a commitment to rule of law, however supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi had hoped his nomination would pave the way for her nomination in 2015 as a presidential candidate, as her late husband held U.K. citizenship.


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