Published: Sat, March 24, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Myanmar's first civilian president and Suu Kyi loyalist, Htin Kyaw retires

Myanmar's first civilian president and Suu Kyi loyalist, Htin Kyaw retires

Myanmar's first civilian president, Htin Kyaw, has recently signed a decision to quit his duty after rulling for over a half-century.

As the country's de facto leader, Suu Kyi made clear when her party took power in early 2016 that she would lead the government and that the president would be beneath her.

An announcement posted on the Facebook page of the Myanmar President Office said 71-year-old Htin Kyaw would step down because he wished to take a rest.

The president, an old school friend of Suu Kyi, served as her proxy in an office she was barred from occupying under Myanmar's military-drafted constitution. A clause in the charter bars anyone with a foreign spouse or child from holding the job.

No further reason has been given for the resignation of Htin Kyaw, a civilian, from the largely ceremonial post.

According to the constitution, Myanmar's parliament would appoint a new president within a week.

Myanmar Parliament Speaker U Win Myint has resigned from his position after two years of his service, Deputy Speaker T Khun Myat said during a parliamentary session on Wednesday.

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The NLD must explore another possible way forward: for the new president to create a position of greater responsibility, outside of Suu Kyi's control.

Kyaw has cited health issues to resign.

Htin Kyaw took office after the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in the 2015 election.

Domestically Suu Kyi still enjoys broad popular support but, two years into government, her party has disappointed sky-high expectations of rapid development and economic growth, while the Rakhine crisis has recast the global narrative of the country. Since late 2016, more than 750,000 have fled across the border to Bangladesh amid the military crackdown. He is also a senior executive at a charitable foundation named after Aung San Suu Kyi's mother, Daw Khin Kyi Foundation and has been frequently seen at the NLD's leader's side.

However, he was nonetheless the country's head of state and a key domestic ally for Aung San Suu Kyi within her party.

However, the Myanmar Government has denied claims of ethnic cleansing.

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