CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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New president voted in for Myanmar following resignation

Mandalay (UCAN): Former speaker of the lower house of Myanmar’s parliament, Win Myint, was elected as a vice-president in the first step in his expected ascension to the presidency of the troubled nation on March 23.
 
The lower house, dominated by State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), voted 273-27 in favour of Myint in a ballot also contested by a candidate from the military-linked Union Solidarity and Development Party.
 
The 66-year-old Myint, 66, will replace Htin Kyaw, who resigned as president on March 21 due to continued ill health after less than two years in office.
 
Nyan Win, a central executive committee member of the NLD, said the new president would exercise more executive powers and share the responsibilities of Suu Kyi, who has shouldered a very heavy workload.
 
“Win Myint is a law advocate, strict and very thorough in detail. So he will be able to contribute to the governance and development of the country,” Nyan Win said.
 
Shay Ray Shu Mg, a Catholic, upper house legislator for Kayah State, said, “I see Win Myint as the right choice for president. The former president (Kyaw) was honest, calm and quiet, but Win Myint has enough experience of handling the parliament to help with governing.” 
 
While Kyaw’s resignation was announced on March 21, rumours had been swirling that the 71-year-old had been in ill health and was looking to resign from the top post.
 
Oxford-educated Kyaw was a close aide of Suu Kyi. He acted as a proxy president for her as she is barred, per the constitution, from the office because she married a foreigner.
 
His resignation came a day after Suu Kyi returned from the ASEAN-Australia summit held in Sydney where she faced protests and was pressed over her failure to protect the minority Rohingya Muslims.
 
More than 770,000 Rohingya have been forced from their homes in restive Rakhine State following a crackdown by Myanmar’s military that has been labelled “ethnic cleansing.”
 
Win Myint has been credited with saying that the army should withdraw from ethnic homelands to allow the rebuilding of trust. Observers note that this could prove an interesting test for the relationship between the NLD and the military.
 
Myint is a member of the majority ethnic Bamar Buddhists and one of Suu Kyi’s inner circle. He graduated from the University of Yangon in geology and became a High Court advocate in 1985.
 
He aligned with the opposition and was involved in the 1988 uprising that brought down the Ne Win regime. He was jailed by the Than Shwe-led junta three times.

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