Myanmar picks new president after predecessor's sudden resignation

Myanmar Former speaker Win Myint elected president

Myanmar picks new president after predecessor's sudden resignation

Win Myint, newly elected president of Myanmar, left, and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi leave the parliament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Wednesday, March 28.

The former Lower House speaker and one of the country's three vice-presidents replaces Htin Kyaw, who resigned last week for health reasons. Myanmar's parliament has elected Win Myint, a loyalist of Aung San Suu Kyi, as new president.

Under Myanmar's constitution, only the country's vice presidents - there are now three, one appointed by the military members of parliament and the other two separately by the elected members of the upper and lower houses - are eligible to run for president.

Win Myint won the election with 403 votes out of 636 cast by lawmakers. Under the constitution, it maintains 25 percent of seats in parliament and three security positions in the Cabinet. Htin Kyaw was seen largely as a puppet figure, since he deferred on all major political decisions to Suu Kyi, who, because her two sons are British citizens, can not herself serve as president under Myanmar's military-drafted constitution. It clearly targeted Ms. Suu Kyi, whose two sons are British, as was her late husband. To get around this, she took the specially created post of State Counsellor, which is supported by its own ministry.

Having been both a member of the NLD's Central Executive Committee and speaker of the lower house for two years shows Win Myint holds the skills to be president, said Win Zaw, a lower house lawmaker from the party.

"Win Myint was educated as a lawyer and has been loyal to the party as well", said Aung Shin, a close friend and colleague.

"We can not expect a very high political impact on Myanmar democratisation", said independent analyst Yan Myo Thein.

Win Myint became a court advocate in 1985 and was jailed for anti-government protests in 1988.

Wim Myint, member of parliament and former house speaker waves after a voting session at the lower house parliament in Naypyidaw on March 23, 2018.

Win Myint was born in the city of Danubyu in south-western Myanmar on November 8, 1951.

U Win Myint, a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD), was elected earlier as a parliament member to the House of Representatives from Pathein constituency in the 2012 by-election and was again so elected to the same house from Tammwe constituency in the 2015 general election.

"U T Khun Myat has tremendous experience in law and legislation, and yet we do not know the issues and challenges that will come up under his parliamentary leadership", says Mr Soe Myint Aung, a political Analyst at the Yangon Centre for Independent Research.

"I believe that our country's democratic development and federal process will move faster than before when Win Myint serves as president", he said.

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