Suu Kyi aide sworn in as Myanmar president in historic power shift

Htin Kyaw is a close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is barred from the presidency herself PHOTO: REUTERS

NAYPYIDAW, MYANMAR: Htin Kyaw, the man chosen by Aung San Suu Kyi to serve as her proxy, was sworn in as Myanmar’s president on Wednesday in a historic power shift away from outright army rule.

The 69-year-old close aide and confidante of Suu Kyi pledged to be “faithful to the people of the republic of the union of Myanmar” at a ceremony at the country’s parliament in the capital Naypyidaw.

Earlier, Myanmar’s lawmakers elected a close aide and long-time friend of Aung San Suu Kyi to become the country’s first civilian president in decades, a historic moment for the formerly junta-run nation.

Htin Kyaw, 69, hailed his elevation to the top post as “Suu Kyi’s victory”, a clear nod to her plan for him to serve as a proxy for the Nobel laureate who is constitutionally barred from becoming president.

MPs erupted into applause after victory was announced following a lengthy ballot count by hand in the capital Naypyidaw in which Htin Kyaw took 360 of 652 votes cast.

Myanmar is in the grip of a stunning transformation from an isolated and repressed pariah state to a rapidly opening aspiring democracy. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a thumping victory at the polls in November, allowing her party to dominate Myanmar’s two legislative houses.

Source: AFP