Myanmar's still-powerful military picks vice-presidential nominee

 Myanmar's future leadership took clearer shape Friday, as the parliament in Naypyitaw confirmed three nominees for the posts of president and two vice-presidents.

The still-powerful military bloc in parliament picked its nominee on Friday afternoon, hours after two members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) were also put forward to the next stage of the selection process.

Next week, one of the three nominees will be chosen as president by a joint session of both houses of parliament.

Due to the NLD's controlling majority in both houses, the party's nominee and Suu Kyi aide Htin Kyaw is widely expected to win the presidency. The other two nominees would become vice-presidents.

Current Yangon region Chief Minister Myint Swe, a 64-year-old former general, was chosen unanimously by 166 military-appointed members of parliament, the Ministry of Information announced.

Reputed to be loyal to former junta leader Than Shwe, Myint Swe is also known for commanding troops in a military crackdown on protesters and Buddhist monks during the so-called Saffron Revolution in 2007.

After decades under military rule, Myanmar is moving towards greater democracy following its first open elections in a quarter of a century in November, which resulted in a landslide for the NLD.

But the military yet wields considerable power, and will control key government ministries in the future cabinet.

Earlier Friday, the lower house of parliament confirmed the selection of the Htin Kyaw, a longtime aide to Suu Kyi who is widely tipped to become president.

The upper house elected Henry Van Thio, an NLD lawmaker from the ethnic Chin group, who was expected to be made one of the vice-presidents.

The NLD is in control of the selection process thanks to its landslide victory in general elections in November.

Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from the top office, has said that she intends to govern Myanmar from "above the president."

Last update: Fri, 11/03/2016 - 12:00
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