Thursday, February 10, 2011

Myint Aung rejects defense minister job; reportedly under arrest

Thursday, 10 February 2011 19:51 Thomas Maung Shwe

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Lieutenant General Myint Aung, who was on a list to be appointed defense minister on Friday has reportedly declined the cabinet post and was placed under house arrest in Naypidaw on Thursday.

Lieutenant General Myint Aung, once thought to be an
heir apparent to Than Shwe, was reportedly under
house arrest on Thursday after he refused a ministerial
post. Photo : MRTV

Unconfirmed reports said Myint Aung, who previously served as the adjutant general, is thought to have refused the ministerial position because he perceived it as a demotion.

Prior to his rejection of the post, the Than Shwe loyalist was thought by many observers to be next in line to replace Burma’s reclusive dictator at the helm of the nation’s armed forces.

The future for Myint Aung, 55, remains unclear but his military career appears to have come to a screeching halt.

Sources said the defense minister position is now expected to go Lieutenant General Ko Ko.

Lieutenant General Min Aung Hlaing is now expected to be named commander in chief of the Armed Forces, with Major General Soe Win taking the vice commander in chief position, sources said.

Soe Win  was until very recently leading the  Northern Command and was a junior to Myint Aung.

Both Min Aung Hlaing and Soe Win are considered to be from the Maung Aye faction, giving Burma’s No. 2 general a significant boost in power.

Insiders in Naypidaw said that Myint Aung’s apparent rejection is just the latest bump in Than Shwe’s plan to impose a parliamentary façade on the government. 

When the newly arrived members of Parliament convened behind closed doors recently to nominate their vice presidential candidates, it was reported that a majority refused to endorse Tin Aung Myint Oo because he is considered too hard line, sources said.

Due to the initial rejection of Tin Aung Myint Oo, Than Shwe is said to have been forced to make an impromptu appearance at the Parliament to instruct the lawmakers to vote for his desired choice.

Maung Aye is said to have reacted strongly to Than Shwe approach, and he was observed storming out of the building. None of the reports could be confirmed by other parties on Thursday evening.

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