Myanmar's First Civilian President Resigns from Office

Myanmar's First Civilian President Resigns from Office

Cheryl Sanders
March 21, 2018

Myanmar's President Htin Kyaw has resigned after less than two years in the office, local media reported Wednesday. A new leader will be selected within seven working days.

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

Htin Kyaw, the country's first civilian president since 1962, was widely respected and seen as unerringly devoted to Suu Kyi, who said she would rule "above" him after he was elected in 2016.

A clause in the charter bars anyone with a foreign spouse or child from holding the job; her two sons are British, as was her late husband.

He resigned from that post on Wednesday. There were no immediate candidates put forward as long term successors, but several senior party names were floated when Suu Kyi took power.

Htin Kyaw's office said he was retiring "in order to take rest from the current duties and responsibilities".

In 2016, Htin Kyaw was sworn in as President and this landmark elections ended decades of military leadership.

Defenders of Suu Kyi say her government's hands are tied by the military but critics maintain it could and should have done more to speak up against alleged army atrocities, particularly in Rakhine State. Than Shwe, who headed the last military government.

He spent time in jail for helping Ms Suu Kyi try to make an unsanctioned trip under a previous military government, and served as a director of a charitable foundation named after Ms Suu Kyi's mother.

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