In a surprise shake-up at the top, former president U Thein Sein handed over his Union Solidarity and Development Party leadership role today to U Than Htay, a member of the USDP central executive committee.
U Thein Sein, whose party suffered a crushing defeat at the ballot box in November, will still hold a position within the formerly ruling USDP, as its patron.
His unexpected abdication of the USDP chairmanship came on the second day of the party’s convention in Nay Pyi Taw, which media have been barred access to.
U Than Htay was selected to succeed U Thein Sein in a vote by the party’s central committee.
A former brigadier general who served as both energy and railways ministers under U Thein Sein’s government, 61-year-old U Than Htay will take the helm of a party badly bruised in the wake of last year’s election losses.
“He is low-profile within the party, even though he is a very talented person,” U Hla Swe, a prominent USDP member and former lawmaker, told The Myanmar Times after news of Tuesday’s leadership reshuffle broke. “He was well-known as an obedient soldier when he served as an assistant of General Thura Kyaw Htin [a former Tatmadaw commander-in-chief.
U Hla Swe added that party members welcomed U Than Htay’s rise to the top, viewing him as a young and energetic leader.
“We believe he can lead the party very well,” he said.
My question is has the USDP learned anything from their defeat? Is it willing to reform and stop propagating the fascist ideology of Myanmarism, which is at the heart of divisive currents within Burma?