Myanmar regime hardliner becomes monk
A MYANMAR vice-president with close ties to former junta chief Than Shwe has become a monk, officials said on Wednesday, in a move observers believe could strengthen the hand of the country’s reformers.
Tin Aung Myint Oo, who is seen as one of the more reactionary members of the regime, entered a monastery on May 3, a Myanmar government official told, without giving details of how long he planned to stay there.
Another official confirmed he remained in the monkhood.
“He’s still a monk. We didn’t know about his resignation,” he said.
Tin Aung Myint Oo’s sudden absence has stoked speculation that he has stepped down, raising questions over whether he will be replaced by a more moderate figure.
Nicholas Farrelly, research fellow at the Australian National University, said Tin Aung Myint Oo, who is one of two vice-presidents and seen as a close ally of former junta strongman Than Shwe, could still return to his post.
“But I doubt it I think he has resigned,” he said. If he has stepped down, the departure “suggests that reform-minded members of the current government are continuing to gain the ascendancy,” Farrelly added.
President Thein Sein, a former general, has instigated a series of sweeping reforms since coming to power last year following the end of decades of direct military rule, prompting the West to begin to lift sanctions.