Myanmar Elects Htin Kyaw As First Civilian President In Decades

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Htin Kyaw
Htin Kyaw
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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”.

Ms 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.

Given the miseries that this country has suffered this was another incredible momentous occasion.

But if she was enjoying it , or reflecting on the sacrifices that were made to get here, Ms Suu Kyi gave no indication.

Just as she has done since the election in November, the former pro-democracy campaigner avoided the media and made no public comment.

No doubt acting on her instructions (a taste of what’s to come no doubt) Htin Kyaw remained elusive.

The only time I saw Myanmar’s next President was at the end of a cordoned off corridor, waiting for the arrival of Ms Suu Kyi.

In second place was Myint Swe, who was nominated by the military and received 213 votes. A close ally of former junta leader Than Shwe, he is seen as a hardliner.

He was followed by Htin Kyaw’s running mate and ethnic Chin candidate Henry Van Thio, who got 79 votes.

They will serve as first vice-president and second vice-president respectively.

The president is chosen from candidates put forward by each of the two houses of parliament, in addition to a third nominee from the military.

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