International desk, Mar 28: Myanmar’s parliament has elected Win Myint as the country’s next president, a week after the resignation of his predecessor.Win Myint, a close aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been a speaker in the lower house since 2012 and was widely tipped for the top job.
But his role will be essentially ceremonial, with Ms Suu Kyi acting as de facto president.
Htin Kyaw resigned as president last week, amid growing health concerns.
Parliament then had seven days to choose a successor, and voted from a short-list of the three vice-presidents on Wednesday.
Earlier last week, Win Myint, 66, had been made a vice-president, a further sign he was likely to assume the presidency.
As a long-time member of Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, he is seen as a Suu Kyi loyalist.
The other two vice-presidents were Myint Swe, who served as acting president after Htin Kyaw stepped down, and Henry Van Thio.
Most Burmese don’t know what plans Win Myint may have for the economy, bringing peace in the troubled border regions or how to deal with the Rohingya crisis.
The key criteria for this job was loyalty to Aung San Suu Kyi. She will continue to pull the strings.
In Yangon and beyond, you won’t find the excitement of two years ago when Htin Kyaw was sworn in, becoming the first democratically elected president with no ties to the military in decades.
But when it comes to real power here, it is still the military in control.
Tuesday’s celebration of Armed Forces Day showed us that. Planes, helicopters and 16,000 soldiers marching across a vast parade ground for the cameras outside the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.
The commander-in-chief told his troops the army must play a key role in the life of the nation.
It didn’t feel like an ambition. It felt like an order.