Khin Yi replaced Than Htay as the new chairperson of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). After stepping down from his leading role, Than Htay said he takes responsibility for failing to win the 2020 election for the party and that he was unable to protect 2,000 party members killed since the coup. A close ally of Min Aung Hlaing, new USDP chair Khin Yi repeated the coup leader’s unsubstantiated claims that the National League for Democracy (NLD) government committed electoral fraud in 2020.
“According to the legal investigation, there were over 11.3 million counts of electoral fraud in the 2020 elections. This is a very bad incident in an organization that should shape the future of the country according to the will of the people,” Khin Yi said. A former Brigadier General in the military, Khin Yi also served as the USDP vice chair and the junta’s Minister of Immigration before receiving his new post at the party’s conference in Naypyidaw Oct. 4-5, 2022.
A longtime stalwart of Burma’s unelected leaders, Khin Yi has played prominent roles under the leadership of Than Shwe, and Thein Sein. He was trounced by the NLD in 2015 when he contested a seat for the USDP in Ayeyarwady Region. Before this week’s USDP conference that made him leader, Khin Yi added nearly 300 Burma Army officers to the party’s leadership ranks. He has committed the USDP to join the junta in its planned election next year.
The USDP transformed itself from an association of junta loyalists into a political party in 2010 to contest elections against the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained in Min Aung Hlaing’s coup last year and remains jailed facing trumped up charges. Members of the ousted NLD government have been murdered, tortured, jailed or forced into hiding due to the junta’s repression against it. It is unknown whether the NLD will boycott any election planned by Min Aung Hlaing, in his desperate attempt in becoming president.