Myanmar’s president resigns ‘to take rest from duties’

PHOTO: Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw arrives for a dinner
reception following swearing in ceremony in Naypyitaw, Myanmar,
March 30, 2016. Ye Aung Thu, Reuters

YANGON – Myanmar’s civilian president, Htin Kyaw, has resigned
with immediate effect “in order to take rest from the current
duties and responsibilities”, his office said in a statement
posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

According to the country’s constitution, the more senior of 2
vice presidents will stand in as president until a new leader
is elected by parliament within 7 working days.

This means that Myint Swe, who was the military’s appointment
for vice-president, will become acting president.

The president is the head of state and government in Myanmar,
and under the constitution has far-reaching powers. However,
Htin Kyaw’s role was more ceremonial because Aung San Suu Kyi
has been Myanmar’s de facto leader since April 2016.

A constitution drafted by the former junta bars Nobel Peace
Prize laureate Suu Kyi from the top office and so she
hand-picked Htin Kyaw, a close ally of hers, to become

Aung Shin, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for
Democracy (NLD) party, said that Htin Kyaw, 71, had stepped
down due to ill-health.

The president’s office did not give a reason for Htin Kyaw’s
resignation. In its posting, the president’s office said that,
according to the constitution, steps would be taken to replace
him within seven working days.

“The next president will be an NLD member or one who suits with
NLD policy,” Aung Shin said. “The current vice-president cannot
be the next president, according to the constitution.”

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