Myanmar first Civilian President

Burma's first civil president

Burma's first civilian president in fifty years was sworn in. Myanmar's first civil president since 1962, SE Asia News & Top Stories

Myanmar's first civilian president since 1962, Mr Htin Kyaw, was ousted in parliament last night and took over in the midst of high levels of popular expectation for reform and results in a land that has recently been freed from the military's grasp of steel. At a brief parliamentary rally in Naypyitaw - observed by tens of thousand on their TVs across the nation - Mr Htin Kyaw, 69, took his Oaths of Government, as did his two Vice-Presidents, one appointed by the Armed Forces and the other by the reigning National League for Democracy (NLD).

At the end of the historical ceremony, members of the new cabinet, among them NLD Chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, were inaugurated. Suu Kyi, who has chosen her closest colleague and long-time friends for the top position in the nation, is responsible for external policy, training, electricity and energies and is also a minister in the presidential office.

Speaking in Parliament, President Htin Kyaw said: "It will seek to achieve nationwide consensus, promote peaceful coexistence, a federated democracy, a constitution and an improvement in people's livelihood. "Referring to the constitution drawn up by the army, which excludes Ms Suu Kyi from the presidential office because her two children are UK nationals, Mr Htin Kyaw said he would work "to achieve a constitution that has democracy and is fit for the nation".

Later on he went to the presidential palace, where he was given a festive scarp by the departing President Thein Sein, the 70-year-old former general who led the state for the five sometimes tumultuous years after the occasional change to a quasi-civilian state. Nominating the learned and quietly speaking Mr. Htin Kyaw, whose father-in-law was one of the co-founders of the NLD, was very much appreciated.

However, it would require the approval of the army - which according to analyst reports is not likely in the foreseeable future. US President Barack Obama welcomed the oath of Htin Kyaw and called it an "extraordinary moment", while China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi complimented his Chinese colleague Suu Kyi on her nomination.

Mr Htin Kyaw's government is inheriting a long agenda of urgent questions, which includes a complicated and stammering peacemaking trial in which some of the northern arms are still struggling against the military or against each other. NLD has already angered some racial groups by nominating its own prime minister in Myanmar's states and territories.

She faces long-standing and often violent property right concerns, which remain from years of indiscriminate and corruption of the army, and concerns such as the abandoned Myitsone hydroelectric power plant which is abhorred by local people in Kachin State but supported by China, which now wants to revitalize it. "It' s a historical event for the country," Yangon-based freelance analysts Richard Horsey emailed.

"However, we should not forget that some of the greatest threats facing the countrys economy, such as military conflicts and local tension, are profound constitutional difficulties.... the new administration will probably have as much difficulty solving these kinds of problem as its forerunner. I cannot say, however, whether President Htin Kyaw will be good or evil, because he has not yet done anything.

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