Myanmar’s parliament elected Htin Kyaw as Myanmar’s new president Tuesday, the country’s first democratically-elected leader after more than half a century of military rule.
Htin Kyaw, an ally of National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, will take office on April 1 after winning 360 of the 652 votes that were cast.
Nobel laureate and longtime political prisoner Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy to a sweeping victory in Nov. 8 elections.
She is blocked from becoming president because of a constitutional clause that excludes anyone with a foreign spouse or children from the position. Suu Kyi’s two sons are British, as was her late husband.
The clause is widely seen as having been written by the military with Suu Kyi in mind. Suu Kyi has vowed to rule Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, by proxy, from a position “above” the president.
Htin Kyaw, 70, is an Oxford graduate who runs the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, an education charity named after Suu Kyi’s mother that helps people in Myanmar's poorest areas. A former classmate of Suu Kyi’s at a high school in Yangon, he is seen as a National League for Democracy loyalist whose wife is a prominent legislator.
The army will continue to play a key role in the incoming government by retaining control of three powerful ministries — defense, interior and border security — while also wielding influence over Myanmar’s economy through military-owned conglomerates and businesses with close ties to outgoing President Thein Sein's government.
Contributing: Lucy Kafanov, Associated Press