Thein Sein Biography

Thein Stein, the current President of Myanmar, has been in office since March 2011. He is the first civilian president of Burma since it was under military dictatorship and is known for his efforts to bring democracy to the country. As a center-right, reformist leader, he implemented political reforms and deregulated the previously censored media. Thein Stein gained popularity for releasing over 6,300 political prisoners who were sentenced by the military dictatorship. Prior to becoming president, he served as the Prime Minister and had a successful military career spanning four decades. Despite being born into a poor peasant family, Thein Stein received a good education and was determined to make a difference in his country. He formed his own political party and successfully ran for presidency, forming Burma’s first civilian government in almost 50 years.

Quick Facts

  • Age: 78 Years
  • Gender: Male
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Khin Khin Win
    • Father: Maung Phyo
    • Mother: Khin Nyunt
  • Occupation: Millionaire, President

Childhood & Early Life

Thein Sein was born on 20 April 1945 in Kyonku, a small village in British Burma (now Myanmar). His family was poor, and his parents, Maung Phyo and Khin Nyunt, were landless farmers. He has two elder siblings. Despite their poverty, his parents instilled in him an interest for education and taught him the value of hard work and determination. He grew up watching his father weave bamboo mats and work on the riverside docks, while his mother worked in a tea-shop to augment the family’s income. Sein attended the prestigious Defence Services Academy and graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Career

After graduating, Thein Sein became a second lieutenant and steadily advanced through the ranks over the years. In 1988, he served as a major for Sagaing Division’s 55th Light Infantry Division and later became a commander for Sagaing Division’s 89th Infantry Battalion. He completed a training course at the Command and General Staff College in Kalaw, Shan State, in 1989 and commanded various army units around the country in the following years. He was promoted to the rank of colonel and 1st Grade General Staff Officer in the War Office from 1992 to 1995. He was then promoted to Brigadier General, becoming the first Brigadier General to be promoted to General Staff Officer. In 1996, he led the new Triangle Regional Military Command in Kyaingtong, Shan State, for four years. He later served as the adjutant general of the army and joined the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the ruling military regime in Myanmar at the time. By 2003, he had become the second secretary of the SPDC and the following year, he became the first secretary. In 2007, he became the acting Prime Minister and later assumed office as the Prime Minister on 24 October 2007. As Prime Minister, he carried out high-level negotiations with Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. He also led the National Disaster Preparedness Central Committee as chairman in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, though his administration was criticized for the inefficiency of relief efforts.

Political Reforms

In 2010, Thein Sein resigned from the military to lead the Union Solidarity and Development Party as a civilian in the multiparty parliamentary elections held in November. His party dominated the elections and won the majority of seats in the Myanmar Parliament. In February 2011, he was elected as the next president of Myanmar and was sworn in on 30 March 2011. Under his administration, several political and social reforms have been implemented. Press restrictions have been relaxed, political prisoners have been released, and pro-democratic reforms have been executed. His progressive reforms have made him a well-known leader not only in East Asia but throughout the world.

Major Works

As president, Thein Sein has cautiously moved on the path of political reforms. His government has freed hundreds of prisoners, including political detainees, embarked on peace deals with ethnic minority groups, and relaxed media censorship.

Personal Life & Legacy

Thein Sein is married to Khin Khin Win, and they have three daughters.

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