Myanmar parliament elects first civilian president in decades

By BBC

Myanmar’s parliament has elected Htin Kyaw as the next president, the first civilian to lead the country 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 beat another NLD candidate and one put forward by the military.

Ms Suu Kyi is barred from the post due to a constitutional clause, but has said she would be above the president.

Htin Kyaw won with 360 of the 652 votes cast.

In second place was military-nominated Myint Swe, who 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.

Htin Kyaw will replace Thein Sein who will step down at the end of the month after five years of army-backed rule.

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

Ms Suu Kyi could not run for president because 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 – also known as Burma – to remove or suspend the clause to allow Ms Suu Kyi to take office.

But she has always said that she would run the country anyway, with the president effectively acting as a proxy.

  

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