Myanmar’s Parliament has named Win Myint, a strong supporter of de facto leader and Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s new President.
Win Myint crushed two other elected Vice-Presidents, Myint Swe and Henry Van Thio, in a vote in Parliament on Wednesday (March 28), winning 403 of 636 votes.
I promise that I will do my best to serve the duties for the public, Win Myint told reporters after the election according to Eleven Media.
His appointment to the role comes a week after former President Htin Kyaw resigned for health reasons.
Like many members of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, Win Myint’s career in politics has been a particularly bumpy road full of road blocks. Born in Danubyu in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Region, Win Myint studied geology at the University of Yangon, previously known as the Rangoon Arts and Science University. He went on to become a High Court advocate in 1985 before turning his attention to politics.
In 1988 the opposition-aligned Win Myint was imprisoned for his role in the ultimately unsuccessful uprising in Yangon, which saw hundreds of protestors take to the streets to demand an end to military rule.
After his release, Win Myint successfully ran for a seat in the historic 1990 election in which the NLD won 392 of the 492 parliamentary seats, but the result was not recognised by the military.
Win Myint returned to politics during the 2012 by-election, winning a lower house seat in Pathein constituency. In the 2015 election, which resulted in a decisive victory for the NLD, he was elected MP for Tamwe township. He became Speaker of the Lower house in 2016 and held the role until his resignation last Wednesday (March 21).
He was one of Suu Kyi’s trusted aides, working closely with the opposition leader both in parliament and in party affairs, according to the Myanmar Times.
Despite his role within the government, power is expected to remain largely in the hands of Suu Kyi, for whom the role of state counsellor was created.
Placed under house arrest for 15 years by the army, which still holds considerable power, Suu Kyi is unable to assume the role of President herself because her late husband and children are foreign citizens.
The State Counsellor has come under fire from the international community over the ongoing Rohingya Crisis, which has caused an estimated 700,000 members of the Muslim ethnic minority to flee the country due to a brutal military crackdown in the northern state of Rakhine.