Myanmar’s lawmakers today elected a close aide and longtime friend of Aung San Suu Kyi to become the country’s first civilian president in decades, in a historic moment for the formerly junta-run nation.
Htin Kyaw, 69, won 360 of 652 votes cast by Myanmar’s two legislative chambers, paving the way for him to serve as a proxy for the Nobel laureate who is constitutionally barred from becoming president.
MPs burst into applause when the results were announced after a lengthy counting procedure in the capital Naypyidaw.
Suu Kyi is barred from taking the top post under the country’s junta-era constitution because she married and had children with a foreigner.
But she has pledged to pull the strings of power from “above” her appointee backed by a thumping mandate from her party’s landslide election win in November.
The son of a revered poet who has helped run Suu Kyi’s charitable foundation in recent years, Htin Kyaw has long been a trusted member of her inner circle.