Myanmar Parliament Elects Suu Kyi Aide as President

Defeats Military's Candidate 360-213

After the massive November election success of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD), the party has elected the nation’s first civilian leaders after more than 50 years of military rule. The president will by Htin Kyaw.

Htin Kyaw is a close aide of NLD party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from the presidency, but insists she will be “above the president” at any rate. Htin Kyaw’s 360 votes was a solid majority of parliament, with the military-backed candidate, Myint Swe, in second place at 213. He will serve as vice president.

There was already speculation that Suu Kyi would create the position of prime minister and appoint herself as that, making that position the de facto head of state for Myanmar. This would likely set up another battle with the military, which is resisting efforts by Suu Kyi to limit their domestic powers.

Htin Kyaw is largely unknown within Myanmar, and many expressed surprise at his election, though analysts say it reflects his closeness to Suu Kyi. The two were reportedly childhood friends.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.