Suu Kyi ally elected president of Myanmar

Clay Curtis
March 29, 2018

The new President has been described as a close aide of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The former president, Htin Kyaw, suddenly stepped down last week.

Win Myint, 66, resigned as speaker of the lower house last week.

Myint replaced U. Htin Kyaw, Myanmar's first democratically elected president.

He was among a few dozen NLD members, including Suu Kyi, elected to parliament in 2012 by-elections as the country began a dramatic transition from almost 50 years of military rule.

Win Myint won the election with 403 votes as a total of 636 MPs voted in Parliament.

Myanmar's military ruled the country for a half-century during which it was accused of widespread abuses before partially handing power to a civilian government in 2016. The military still controls security.

Like his predecessor Win Myint's role will largely be ceremonial.

That makes it crucial for her to have a compliant friend as president as she manages an often fraught power-sharing arrangement with the still powerful military, which ruled the country for nearly half a century.

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Activists have been frustrated with his reluctance to abolish a controversial online defamation law that has seen dozens of people face charges for Facebook posts critical of the government or military.

Meanwhile, the civilian government has had difficulty implementing a national reconciliation project, with the military continuing fighting against multiple long-running insurgencies.

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

"The military might be a bit more mindful in dealing with the new president", Khin Zaw Win said.

The key criteria for this job was loyalty to Aung San Suu Kyi. Worth mentioning here Aung San Suu Kyi is legally barred from holding the post of the president by the military-drafted constitution.

The native of Danubyu in the Ayeyarwady Region was known to be a strict speaker, keeping both NLD lawmakers and military appointees in check if they did not prepare their statements before parliament, according to the Irrawaddy journal. He studied geology in Yangoon before becoming a lawyer in the 1980s. His involvement with the NLD began when it was established during the failed anti-military uprising of 1988, which led to his brief stint in prison. His son died during his time in prison.

"He is good at both legislation and administration and I assume that is a good thing", said NLD upper house representative Nwe Nwe Aung. He later joined Suu Kyi's party and won a seat in the 1990 general election, whose results the military later nullified.

He has been a member of the NLD central committee since 2010.

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