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Myanmar parliament names Htin Kyaw president

In a historic development, Myanmar's lawmakers today elected U Htin Kyaw, a confidant of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as the new president of the country.

Myanmar parliament names Htin Kyaw president

Kyaw's election ends decades of leadership by the military and its allies. The 69-year-old Kyaw was elected the president after he managed to win more than half the votes. Kyaw was set to take over as the president after he was nominated last week by Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, which won majorities in both houses of Parliament in elections.

"I have become the president because of sister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's good willingness and loving kindness," Kyaw told reporters as he left Parliament after the vote. Kyaw becomes Myanmar's ninth president and the first civilian to hold the post since 1962.

Aung San Suu Kyi cannot become the president as she is barred by a clause in the military-drafted Constitution that forbids people with foreign relatives from holding the office. Suu Kyi, however, added that she would be "above" the president. "I wish for the people to be happy," she told her party's lawmakers on Monday. "This is just a simple goal. But for it, we have been struggling a lot."

Kyaw is scheduled to take office on 1 April. He will replace incumbent Thein Sein's five years of army-backed quasi-civilian leadership. The two other candidates who challenged Kyaw for the presidency will now become the country's joint vice presidents.

They are retired general Myint Swe, an Army-backed candidate who is still on Washington's sanctions list and ethnic Chin MP Henry Van Thio.