Suu Kyi Aide Elected Myanmar President

Suu Kyi Aide Elected Myanmar PresidentSuu Kyi Aide Elected Myanmar President

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 party swept to victory in historic elections in November.

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

Suu Kyi is barred from the post by the constitution, but has said she will lead the country anyway.

Htin Kyaw won with 360 of the 652 votes cast in the two houses of parliament. In second place was Myint Swe, who was nominated by the military and received 213 votes, followed by the other NLD candidate, Henry Van Thio, who got 79 votes.

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

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

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

Despite her popularity and prominence in Myanmar—also known as Burma—Suu Kyi could not take the presidency herself. A clause in the constitution widely seen as being tailored against her says anyone whose children have another nationality cannot become president. Her children hold British passports.

Despite weeks of negotiation prior to the vote, the NLD were unable to persuade the military of Myanmar to remove or suspend the clause to allow Suu Kyi to take office. But she has always said that she would be “above the president” anyway, with the president effectively acting as a proxy.