SHOAIB DANIYAL | FOR some time now, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been on the lookout for historical icons. After building an impressive present as India’s largest party, it is only natural that it would now look to construct a notable past. Given the colossal role that the Congress played in the freedom struggle, the…
Myanmar’s president Htin Kyaw has resigned citing poor health, two days after State Counsellor and defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi pulled out of an event in Australia after feeling sick.
No official explanation has so far been provided for Htin Kyaw’s resignation, but there have been growing concerns in recent months about the 71-year-old’s health after he appeared weak and emaciated at official functions.
Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is also reported sick, confirming earlier reports that she is down with some serious ailments despite bravely carrying on her state duties.
On Monday. She pulled out of a public speech and question-and-answer session in Sydney because she was “not feeling well”, the event’s organisers later announced.
She pulled out of a public speech and question-and-answer session in Sydney because she was “not feeling well”, the event’s organisers later announced
Suu Kyi, who attended a special ASEAN-Australia summit on Friday–Sunday, was in Canberra for talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Monday.
She had been due to make a keynote speech at the Lowy Institute think-tank in Sydney on Tuesday.
The speech and subsequent Question and Answer session would have been the only public comments the Nobel Prize winner would have made during her Australia trip.
“This afternoon the Lowy Institute was informed by the Myanmar embassy that the State Counsellor will no longer be able to participate in this event as she is not feeling well,” a spokeswoman for the think-tank said in a statement. “Accordingly, the event is now cancelled.”
Some Indian doctors believed to be close to Sun Kyi’s personal physician had earlier told LOOKEAST that she was possibly suffering from acute anaemia and other vitamin deficiencies that made her weak and giddy when working long hours.
That was also believed to be the cause behind her cancelling a trip of the UN general assembly last year. Htin Kyaw was under treatment in Singapore at that time and Suu Kyi was uncomfortable leaving the reins of her government at the hand of Vice President Myint Swe, a former general who might have signed a regional emergency proclamation in conflict-ravaged Rakhine state.
Htin Kyaw was sworn in as President in 2016 after landmark elections which ended 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.
Htin Kyaw was under treatment in Singapore at that time and Suu Kyi was uncomfortable leaving the reins of her government at the hand of Vice President Myint Swe, a former general who might have signed a regional emergency proclamation in conflict-ravaged Rakhine state
The statement posted on the presidency/s Facebook page said Htin Kyaw wanted to “take a rest”.
Vice-President Myint Swe, a former general, would act as president until a new president is chosen within seven days, it said.
Ms Suu Kyi, who was jailed for years under the military junta, was banned from taking the top job.
Clause 59(f) in Myanmar’s 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 from her late British husband Oxford professor Michael Aris.
Htin Kyaw was Suu Kyi’s childhood friend, long-time advisor and sometime driver. He was widely seen as quiet and dependable, and someone she could trust entirely.
Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in 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.
There is widespread speculation in Myanmar over who would be named by Suu Kyi and NLD as the next president.
Suu Kyi has to find someone as dependable as Htin Kyaw who would allow her to effectively run government. ■