Emotions run high as Myanmar swears in first civilian president in 50 years
Members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s victorious National League for Democracy (NLD) were in tears on Wednesday as Myanmar swore in its first president with no military ties in more than half a century.
Htin Kyaw, a close friend and confidant of the Nobel peace prize laureate, was hand-picked by her to run Myanmar’s government because a constitution drafted by the former junta bars the democracy champion from the top office.
In a short address to the chamber, Htin Kyaw reiterated Suu Kyi’s stance on the importance of changing the 2008 charter, which entrenches the military’s powerful position in politics, and called for national reconciliation.
NLD lawmakers were emotional at the scale of the achievement after decades of struggle, including years when many of them were jailed or, like Suu Kyi herself, put under house arrest.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. Our president U Htin Kyaw’s speech is something we have never heard before in the country,” NLD lawmaker Thiri Yadana, 28, said. “He promised that he will work for the country with the respect to our leader Aung San Suu Kyi. It’s such a big step and this has happened because everybody pushed together forward.” Read More