Myanmar’s lawmakers on Tuesday 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 in place of 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.