Myanmar’s parliament on 28 March 2018 elected Win Myint, a loyalist of Aung San Suu Kyi, as the new President, while the latter retained her executive authority over the government.
The vote comes as Ms. Suu Kyi’s civilian government has struggled to implement peace and national reconciliation, with the powerful military still embroiled in combat with ethnic rebels and under heavy international criticism for its brutal counter-insurgency campaign against the Muslim Rohingya minority.
Myanmar’s President is elected by a joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament from among the country’s three Vice- Presidents, representing respectively the Lower House, the Upper House and the military which, under the Constitution, holds special privileges in the country’s administration, including a 25 per cent share of parliamentary seats and the three security portfolios in the Cabinet.
The military ruled the country for a half-century, during which it was accused of widespread abuses before partially handing power to a civilian government in 2016. It is still in charge of security matters and still faces accusations of rights abuses.
The job of state counsellor was created especially for Ms. Suu Kyi because she is constitutionally banned from the presidency. A clause in the 2008 military-drafted constitution bars anyone with a foreign spouse or child from holding the job. It clearly targeted Ms. Suu Kyi, whose two sons are British, as was her late husband.