YANGON, Myanmar — A former top general close to Myanmar’s retired dictator Than Shwe has resigned as vice president, Burmese media reported, ending the hard-liner’s role in the reformist government. Tin Aung Myint Oo, 61, submitted his resignation on May 3 for health reasons after returning from Singapore for medical treatment, the Myanmar language service of Voice of America reported on Sunday. The report could not be immediately confirmed.
Tin Aung Myint Oo, a former four-star general, was one of two vice presidents and considered a leader among hard-liners in the year-old military-backed government that replaced the often-brutal junta who ruled for half a century. Tin Aung Myint Oo graduated from the Defense Services Academy in 1970, becoming northeastern military commander near the Chinese border late 1990s. He was promoted to secretary-1 of the former junta in 1997, a year when the army rounded up hundreds of pro-democracy activists in Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy to prevent them from attending a party congress. Suu Kyi and 42 other members of her party took their seats in parliament last week following a historic by-election in a year of dramatic reforms in the former British colony also known as Burma. In 2009, Tin Aung Myint Oo was appointed military advisor to then-Senior General Than Shwe. He was elected to the lower house a year later as a candidate for the army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, and was quickly nominated as vice president by military delegates.