Myanmar parliament picks Suu Kyi confidant Win Myint as new president

Faith Castro
March 31, 2018

Myanmar's Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 28) elected Win Myint as the country's next president.

Win Myint, 66, had been tipped for the role after former president Htin Kyaw suddenly stepped down last week, citing the need for rest.

On March 28, Win Myint was elected as Myanmar's new president with 403 votes in favor from 636 lawmakers.

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. Under the constitution, the military holds special privileges in the country's administration, including a 25 percent share of parliamentary seats and the three security portfolios in the Cabinet.

Win, a former speaker of the lower house, is expected to bring stronger opinions and a more assertive personality to the presidency following Htin's reign, who was largely seen as more of a puppet figure under Suu Kyi.

Aung, because she has two half-British children, can not legally serve as president of Myanmar.

Mr Win Myint, a member of the NLD's key decision-making body, is a former court lawyer who won a seat in the 1990 election that was later not recognised by then ruling junta.

The job of state counsellor was created especially for Ms. Suu Kyi because she is constitutionally banned from the presidency.

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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.

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.

The new speaker, who is 67, used to lead a militia in Shan state that was allied with the Myanmar military and was accused of being a drug lord.

"I believe there will be frictions" between Win Myint and Myanmar's military, said a government source involved in peace negotiations with the country's armed ethnic groups.

Myanmar's parliament on Wednesday elected Win Myint as president, a week after Htin Kyaw announced his sudden resignation.

Win Myint gained a reputation as a canny political operator in his two years as lower house speaker, shepherding such critical legislation as tax and investment reforms. "The cooperation between parliament and the Ministry of Education has been good [since the NLD government came to power]".

Mr T Khun Myat also used to be a legislator with the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and is close to Mr Shwe Mann, a top junta leader who was later sacked from the USDP for allying with Ms Suu Kyi.

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