Myanmar elects first civilian president in 50 years

Htin Kyaw

Htin Kyaw

NAYPYIDAW. — Myanmar’s parliament has elected Htin Kyaw as the country’s next president, the first civilian leader after more than 50 years of military rule.

Htin Kyaw is a close ally of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party swept to victory in historic elections in November.

He said his appointment was “Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory”.

Suu Kyi is barred from the post by the constitution, but has said she will lead the country anyway. How Suu Kyi could be more powerful outside the presidency

Htin Kyaw won with 360 of the 652 votes cast in the two houses of parliament, with MPs erupting into applause when the result was announced.

“Victory! This is sister Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory. Thank you,” Htin Kyaw said after winning.

The end result when it finally came was entirely as expected, with a landslide victory for Ms Suu Kyi’s man, Htin Kyaw.

Htin Kyaw (70) is Suu Kyi’s close aide.

He is said to be a quietly spoken man who attended university in the UK. He has a reputation for honesty and loyalty, and has kept a low profile.

His father, the writer and poet Min Thu Wun, won a seat for the party at the 1990 election.

His wife, Su Su Lwin, is the daughter of an NLD founder, as well as being a sitting MP, and a prominent party member.

He has played a senior role at the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, the charity founded in honour of Suu Kyi’s late mother, and has been frequently seen at the NLD leader’s side, serving as her driver from time to time.

The NLD has a huge majority in both houses of parliament, despite the military occupying 25 perece of seats, so the candidate it backed was all but guaranteed to win.

Despite weeks of negotiation prior to the vote, the NLD were unable to persuade the military to remove or suspend the clause to allow Suu Kyi to take office.

However, Ms Suu Kyi has previously said that she would be “above the president” anyway, ruling through a proxy. — BBC.

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