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Myanmar’s defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has succeeded in getting her close friend Win Myint positioned as the country’s new president after the NLD lawmakers in the lower house overwhelmingly voted for him on Friday.
The 66-year- old has now become the overwhelming favourite to take over the role when he resigned from his position as lower house speaker shortly after president Htin Kyaw abruptly stepped down on Wednesday.
“I hereby announce and confirm that the elected MPs group elected U Win Myint from Tarmwe constituency as a vice president,” the new lower house speaker T Khun Myat announced in parliament.
Win Myint is expected to face the final vote next week against his two opponents, upper house candidate Henry Van Thio and the military-backed acting president Myint Swe
He received 273 votes against 27 secured by the closest challenger.
Parliament will now have to select the president from three candidates, one each from the lower and upper houses and the military.
Win Myint is expected to face the final vote next week against his two opponents, upper house candidate Henry Van Thio and the military-backed acting president Myint Swe.
The endorsement of the former lawyer and political prisoner, however, means he is almost certain to clinch the job with the National League for Democracy (NLD) party sporting a majority in both houses.
Suu Kyi is barred from the presidency because her children are not Myanmar citizens under Art 59(f) inserted by the military when it drafted a new constitution in 2008 that helped it retain a large role in running the country.
But Suu Kyi still leads the civilian government as state counsellor, a post created for her after her party dominated elections in 2015.
Win Myint stood beside Suu Kyi during the 1988 democracy movement that was brutally suppressed by the then military junta.
He is known for his strict management style in parliament and is one of Suu Kyi’s inner circle, therefore likely remain loyal to the Nobel laureate as president. ■