Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Get Adobe Flash player

Suu Kyi ally set to take presidency in Myanmar

Posted by pakin On March - 22 - 2018


Win Myint, a trusted aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, is tipped to become Myanmar’s new head of state after President U Htin Kyaw resigned yesterday due to health reasons.

Analysts, however, expect no other changes in the government.

Shortly after the President’s Office announced the resignation of Htin Kyaw, Lower House speaker Win Myint also put in his papers.

The resignation of the two senior political figures took place only a day after Suu Kyi returned home after the Australia-Asean special summit where the Rohingya crisis was comprehensively discussed and Asean was urged to play a bigger role.

While Asean has followed its traditional policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of a member country, Suu Kyi has been strongly criticised for her role in handling the situation. The United Nations’ human rights body has pointed to a possible genocide since August when violence forced some 700,000 people to flee from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

Htin Kyaw took office after the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in the 2015 election. His role in the administration was ceremonial as Suu Kyi, who was barred by the military-sponsored constitution from the position, created for herself the position of State Counsellor, effectively becoming the de facto leader.

Htin Kyaw is an old school friend of Suu Kyi, who was loyal to her and advised her at the peak of her political struggle and house arrest. The 71-year-old president, who has had a heart problem in the past, has been in poor health and was found to have lost a lot of weight recently. He reportedly received medical treatment in Thailand.

Politicians in Myanmar told The Nation that Htin Kyaw’s move to step down was due to health problems.

“We believe President Htin Kyaw resigned from his post because of his health. We need to respect his decision,” said NLD spokesperson Monywa Aung Shin.

“We’ve been hearing about President Htin Kyaw’s medical treatment for a long time. Everybody knows that he needs to take rest. So, we are not surprised by this development,” said Nanda Hla Myint, spokesperson of the rival Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The USDP was the ruling party during the previous administration under General Thein Sein.

Win Myint, 66, who is tipped to be the new president, is also a long-time trusted Suu Kyi loyalist. He served on the NLD’s executive committee for many years. He became House speaker after the 2015 election victory because of his background in law.

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

Vice President Myint Swe, a retired general who took the position under the military quota, will be the acting president until the new head of state is appointed.

Analysts said the new president must be someone who is trusted by Suu Kyi. “We strongly believe Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will make an excellent choice again, selecting another capable leader who can lead the government and the country in line with NLD’s mission, vision and regulations,” said Monywa Aung Shin, an NLD executive committee member.

“Anyone who she selects as president will be someone she has complete trust in,” independent analyst Richard Horsey was quoted as saying by AFP. “That trust is the basis of her being the seat of power in Myanmar. She has no power under the constitution. Any power comes from that relationship with the president.”

Nanda Hla Myint agreed, saying, “We believe that the new president will be the second U Htin Kyaw – the one who she can trust, who obeys her, who is capable of making her desires happen, and who is really willing to follow her instructions. So, there will be no significant impacts.

“We do not expect many changes in Myanmar’s political climate due to this announcement. We believe Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be able to lead the State even though U Htin Kyaw resigned from his post,” he said.

Maung Maung Lay, vice president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the private sector understands the nature of political change and is willing to cooperate with the new president.


Leave a Reply