The National Unity Party (NUP) has appointed 88-year-old retired Brig-Gen Than Tin as its new chairman to replace Lt-Gen Tun Yi, who passed away last month.
The NUP was formed by the former ruling military junta in 1988 from the remnants of former dictator Ne Win’s Burmese Socialist Programme Party (BSPP). It won ten constituencies in the 1990 general election and 64 seats in 2010 polls.
NUP spokesman Han Shwe said the party’s executive committee unanimously decided to name Than Tin as the party’s new chairman at a meeting on 30 April. He cited Than Tin’s prior position as party general-secretary, his experience in the Burmese independence movement in colonial days, and his role as a minister in the BSPP government in the late 1970s.
Than Tin was also a member of the government committee that drafted the 1974 Constitution.
“We appoint our leaders considering criteria based on their political history – they took part in the independence movement against the British rulers and the anti-fascist resistance, and they have shared their experiences with the following generations,” said Han Shwe.
“U Than Tin is a very well-experienced man – he is a retired serviceman who took part in the anti-colonial and anti-fascist movements for Burma’s independence and we believe that he is very capable of assuming the party’s leadership role.”
Than Tin becomes the third person to take the party’s chair after Thaw Kyaw and Tun Yi. The party has announced that it plans to contest 18 of the 30 vacated seats in by-elections scheduled for later this year.