BANGKOK -- The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), led by lawmakers from pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), announced on Tuesday that it has appointed Mahn Win Khaing Than as Myanmar's acting vice president.
The CRPH's move is seen as acting on its desire to establish a de facto "provisional government" until Suu Kyi and others are released.
The newly appointed acting vice president had served as the speaker of the upper house of Myanmar's parliament until the military staged a coup on Feb. 1, detaining Suu Kyi and other NLD officials. He will "perform the duties of the president," the CRPH said in a statement.
According to local media, he is an ethnic minority Karen as well as a Christian -- an estimated 70% of Myanmar's people are Burman Buddhists. He is also the grandson of Ba Khaing, a politician who was assassinated in 1947 along with independence hero Aung San, father of Aung San Suu Kyi. He became a lawyer and reportedly joined an ethnic Karen political party in 1990.
He joined the NLD in 2013 and in the 2015 elections won a parliament seat from the state of Kayin. In 2016, he was appointed as speaker of the upper house, seen as part of Suu Kyi's bid to increase ethnic diversity.
Following the coup, the military detained and "dismissed" Suu Kyi, the state counselor and de facto top government leader, and President Win Myint, among other NLD officials, sparking international condemnation. Suu Kyi had concurrently served as foreign minister.
The CRPH insists that the NLD administration led by Suu Kyi is the country's legitimate government. On March 2, the CRPH also appointed nine acting cabinet ministers, including acting foreign minister.
Meanwhile, Myanmar's state-run television reported on Tuesday that Kyaw Zwar Minn, Myanmar's ambassador to the U.K., who had called for Suu Kyi's release, has been recalled. It explained that the diplomat "did not act in accordance with the responsibilities given" to him.
Support for the CRPH is growing among officials sent from Myanmar to international organizations and diplomatic missions.
Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations, appointed before the recent political upheaval, read out a CRPH statement condemning the coup in late February during a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Myanmar's military "dismissed" the top U.N. envoy, but the CRPH said it will let him stay in the post.