MARCH 28, 2018 – Myanmar’s parliament elected Aung San Suu Kyi’s confidant Win Myint as the country’s new president on Wednesday, a week after predecessor Htin Kyaw abruptly stepped down from the position.
Both houses of parliament voted the ruling party National League for Democracy (NLD) stalwart into the position with 403 votes from the 636 lawmakers.
The 66-year-old former lower house speaker became Myanmar’s 10th president and takes the position after the NLD swept to power in elections in 2015, the first fully democratic polls after decades of military rule.
Both Win Myint and his predecessor are close to Suu Kyi, who is barred from the presidency and rules the civilian government under the title of state counsellor.
Suu Kyi observed the vote from parliament’s gallery alongside other ministers.
Myanmar and Suu Kyi in particular have been criticised internationally for the treatment of the country’s minority Rohingya, nearly 700,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh during a military campaign described as ethnic cleansing by the UN.
Win Myint has been described as strong-willed in his role as speaker and an assertive politician, leading observers to predict he may take on a fuller role as president, rather than the ceremonial one performed by Htin Kyaw.
Win Myint, who represented the lower house, beat two other vice presidents representing the upper house and the military respectively to secure the presidency.