03/21/2018, 11.09
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Naypyitaw, President Htin Kyaw resigns

He was the first civilian elected by the parliament to hold the office since the 1962 coup. He is a close confidant of Aung San Suu Kyi, to whom he is linked by a deep friendship. In January, Htin Kyaw launched an appeal for the modification of the militarist Constitution and for justice to all ethnic minorities.

Naypyitaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Myanmar President Htin Kyaw has resigned from his post, just under two years in office. His office announced this morning that Htin Kyaw, 71, intends to "withdraw from his duties". The brief statement reiterates that, as foreseen by the Constitution, the new president will be appointed within seven days. Meanwhile, Vice President Myint Swe, former Lieutenant General of the Tatmadaw [the powerful Burmese army, ed.], will hold office.

Since the coup in 1962, Htin Kyaw was the first civilian elected by parliament to hold the post of president, after the government of the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi came to power in 2016, with an overwhelming victory in the general election of the previous year. He is a close confidant of the democratic leader, to whom he is bound by a deep friendship.

In the eyes of his critics, the old president was simply a "puppet". However, although he held the highest office in the state, the effective power he was able to exercise was somewhat limited by the 2008 Constitution, drafted by the military. It allows the Tatmadaw to maintain significant control over the civil government and decisions on national economy and security. On 4 January, on the occasion of the Independence Day of Myanmar, Htin Kyaw had launched an appeal for the amendment of the Charter and for justice to all recognized ethnic minorities in the framework of a federal system.

Since last year, the Burmese people have been aware of the president's poor health, due to his fragile appearance and his absence in some state ceremonies. He had also received medical treatment abroad. A few hours after the sudden announcement by Htin Kyaw, the lower house spokesman, Win Myint, also presented his resignation. According to analysts, he would be the next head of state. If this were true, Win Myint, a senior member of the National League for Democracy, would be the tenth president of Myanmar since independence in 1948.


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