Tears flow as Myanmar swears in first president with no army ties in more than 50 years

Members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s victorious National League for Democracy (NLD) were in tears on Wednesday as Myanmar swore in its first president with no military ties in more than half a century.

Htin Kyaw (69), a close friend and confidant of the Nobel peace prize laureate, was hand-picked by her to run Myanmar’s government because a constitution drafted by the former junta bars the democracy champion from the top office.

In a short address to the chamber, Htin Kyaw reiterated Suu Kyi’s stance on the importance of changing the 2008 charter, which entrenches the military’s powerful position in politics, and called for national reconciliation.

NLD lawmakers were emotional at the scale of the achievement after decades of struggle, including years when many of them were jailed or, like Suu Kyi herself, put under house arrest.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. Our president U Htin Kyaw’s speech is something we have never heard before in the country,” NLD lawmaker Thiri Yadana, 28, said.

“He promised that he will work for the country with the respect to our leader Aung San Suu Kyi. It’s such a big step and this has happened because everybody pushed together forward.”

Relations between the armed forces and Suu Kyi will define the success of Myanmar’s most significant break from military rule since the army seized power in 1962.

-more at Reuters

Htin Kyaw, 69, said he would be “faithful” to the people of Myanmar, as he took the oath of office in a joint session of parliament in the capital Nay Pyi Taw.

Vice-presidents Henry Van Thio and Myint Swe, who lost to Htin Kyaw in the presidential vote earlier this month, were also sworn in, as were new cabinet ministers.

Most of the ministers belong to the NLD. The list includes Ms Suu Kyi who will be in charge of foreign affairs, the president’s office, education, and energy and electric power.

But the military is appointing its own nominees for three key ministries – defence, home affairs and border affairs.

-more at BBC

 

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