Myanmar president Htin Kyaw resigns


Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw (Feb 2018)Image copyright
EPA

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Aung San Suu Kyi was barred from the top job but acts as Myanmar’s de facto president

The president of Myanmar Htin Kyaw has resigned, his office has announced.

No reason was given, but there have been growing concerns in recent months about the 71-year-old’s health after he appeared frail at official functions.

Htin Kyaw became president in 2016 after landmark elections which saw the end of decades of military leadership.

But he was essentially a ceremonial leader, with long-time opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi acting as de facto president.

Ms Suu Kyi, who was jailed for years under the military junta, is banned from the top job.

A clause in the constitution – widely seen as being deliberately designed to keep her from office – states that no-one with children of another nationality can be president.

She had two children with her late British husband.

Htin Kyaw was her childhood friend, long-time advisor and some time driver. He was widely seen as quiet and dependable, and someone she could trust entirely.

Dogged by Rakhine crisis

Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy swept elections held in November 2015.

But the leadership has been dogged by issues since it took power, most prominently the crisis in Rakhine state.

Tens of thousands of stateless Rohingya migrants have fled amid a military crackdown sparked by deadly attacks on police stations.

The government said it was targeting militants, but the scale of the operation has led to accusations that it could amount to genocide.

It has also seen Ms Suu Kyi’s global popularity plummet, and she has found herself increasingly isolated by her former international allies.

The statement from the president’s office said a new president would be chosen with seven days.

It said Vice-President Myint Swe, a former general who was the military’s appointee in the senior leadership, would act up until then.



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