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Parliament elects Htin Kyaw as president

Parliament has elected U Htin Kyaw of the National League for Democracy as president with 360 votes, setting the stage for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s trusted associate to become Myanmar’s first head of government with no military background for more than 50 years.

The NLD’s overwhelming majority in the two combined houses of parliament ensured that U Htin Kyaw, a 69-year-old academic and long-time aide of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, would become the NLD leader’s president to succeed ex-general U Thein Sein whose five-year term ends on March 30.

Ex-General U Myint Swe, the military’s candidate, was elected first vice president with 213 votes. The appointed military bloc in parliament holds 166 seats, 25 percent of the total, while the military-backed USDP led by the outgoing has 41 seats in the two houses.

Henry Van Thio, an NLD upper house MP and an ethnic Chin Christian, was elected second vice president with 79 votes.

A breakdown of the numbers in the secret vote by a total of 652 MPs suggested that the alliance of the military bloc and U Thein Sein’s Union Solidarity and Development party picked up six votes from among 57 MPs from ethnic minority parties and three independents, while the NLD took the remaining 54 votes.

One NLD MP was absent through illness.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who led her party to victory over the military-backed USDP in last November’s general elections, is barred by the constitution from becoming president because her sons are foreign nationals. She has said she intends to lead the government “above the president”.

Source: Myanmar Times