Burmese president Htin Kyaw resigns to 'rest' from duties

Adjust Comment Print

Htin Kyaw became president in March 2016.

Burmese President Htin Kyaw yesterday suddenly resigned, leaving Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi without a close confidant and political ally as she faces rising worldwide opprobrium over the Rakhine crisis. He was nominated for vice president by the military, which enjoys special privileges over the government. The reason for his sudden departure, according to an announcement from the President's Office, was that the 71-year-old needs rest-probably due to a long-suspected illness. The charter, drafted by the military regime in 2008, prohibits Myanmar nationals with foreign children or spouses from the presidency.

Accordingly, the post stated that the Vice-President Myint Swe, a former general, would act as president until a new president is chosen within seven days.

Under Myanmar law, the lower house shall elect a new speaker as soon as possible, and nominate someone to run against the existing two vice presidents to fill the vacant post of president. Suu Kyi's two sons are British, as was her late husband.

Kyaw was elected to the position of President by 360 votes, more than a third of the parliament's available 652 votes.

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 69-year-old leader from the National League for Democracy (NLD) took over from Thein Sein.

Myanmar's president, a close friend of the country's top leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down. He spent time in jail for helping Suu Kyi try to make an unsanctioned trip out of Yangon under the previous military government, and served as a director of a charitable foundation named after Suu Kyi's mother.

The Myanmar government has denied accusations of ethnic cleansing and pledged to begin repatriating the Rohingya.