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Meet Htin Kyaw, Myanmar’s new president

The new president of Myanmar is Htin Kyaw, old friend and close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi. His appointment was confirmed by the parliament on the 15th of March.

The new president of Myanmar is Htin Kyaw, Aung San Suu Kyi’s closest aide. His nomination was announced by the Lady’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party on the 10th of March, and his appointment confirmed by the parliament on Tuesday the 15th of March.

The Myanmar presidential election

The NLD, which gained absolute majority in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament in popular elections held in November 2015, announced two of the three candidates for presidency earlier in March. The third nominee was announced by the military, which controls a quarter of parliamentary seats.

 

After the parliamentary committee, a body of seven lawmakers, verified the eligibility of the candidates, the president was officially elected via a joint vote of both Houses of Parliament. Htin Kyaw earned 360 out of a total 652 votes. The two candidates with fewer votes have become vice-presidents: vice-president number one, the military’s candidate Myint Swe received 213 votes, followed by 58-year-old retired army officer Henry Van Hti Yu, who was nominated by the NLD. The new government will begin its term on the 1st of April.

 

aung san suu kyi booklet
Booklets with Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s image © Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

 

Who is Htin Kyaw

Myanmar’s new president, Htin Kyaw, is a 69-year-old native of Yangon (Myanmar’s financial capital). He is one of Aung San Suu Kyi’s oldest friends and closest confidantes. “He holds high standing among NLD members and his father-in-law, U Lwin, is one of the party’s founding members,” reports national newspaper Irrawaddy. Htin Kyaw attended school with Aung San Suu Kyi and regularly visited the NLD leader during the 15 years she was under house arrest.

 

Aung San Suu Kyi, leader behind the scenes

Before the announcement of the nominees many NLD supporters hoped that Aung San Suu Kyi could become president. This would have been possible only with an amendment to the 2008 military-drafted constitution, which forbids citizens with foreign family members from being eligible for this title. However the Lady, whose two sons are British, has repeatedly confirmed that she will guide the country anyway from behind the scenes.

 

“This is the first step to realise the expectations and desires of the people who overwhelmingly supported the National League for Democracy in the elections,” Aung San Suu Kyi wrote on her Facebook page after the NLD announced its candidates. Myanmar’s new government will be its first democratically elected one after decades of military rule.

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