Not Suu Kyi, but NLD’s President-Elect Still Excites

By San Yamin Aung 15 March 2016

RANGOON — The Union Parliament on Tuesday morning elected National League for Democracy (NLD) nominee Htin Kyaw as Burma’s next president. On April 1, the 69-year-old will become Burma’s first democratically elected president from a civilian background in more than five decades. The Irrawaddy spoke to a variety of people, including lawmakers, political analysts and supporters, about their thoughts on the historic decision.

aung moe zawAung Moe Zaw, chairman of the Democratic Party for a New Society

“This morning, tears welled up in my eyes while [I was] watching the Parliament session on television. It [Parliament’s decision] is very exciting, and I’m so happy, too. This is a landmark for our country’s democracy.”


yan myo theinYan Myo Thein, a Rangoon-based political commentator

“It was a very exciting moment for all Burmese citizens. Many people waited and watched Parliament live-broadcast [the decision] at tea shops, like watching a football match. It gave me goosebumps.”

“I believe that an administrative body will be implemented, under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership, that will be able to work effectively for the country and its people.”

Flim-MakerShin Daewe, filmmaker

“The thought that we are now free from military rule will ease the pain of [my country] having lagged behind all my life.”





Dr.Daw Nyo Nyo Thin. Photo - JPaing / The Irrawaddy )
Dr.Daw Nyo Nyo Thin. Photo – JPaing / The Irrawaddy )

Nyo Nyo Thin, former Rangoon Division independent lawmaker

“The Union Parliament today voted for Htin Kyaw, whose hands are not stained with blood, to be Burma’s new president. … He is honest and has a clean background. He doesn’t have military experience. He has been elected because he’s believed to be loyal to the public. I would like to urge all people to work together with the president in building a peaceful country and turning away from dictators.”

htoot mayHtoot May, Upper House lawmaker from the Arakan National Party

“We now have Burma’s first civilian president, elected from a party whom the people voted for. As an elected MP, I chose the candidate most desired by the people when I voted among the presidential nominees. I believe my constituents will like the president I voted for.”

“We hope the president will move our country forward, and we will work together [with the president and vice presidents, as well as Parliament and ministries] to achieve positive change and good governance.”

07-U-Soe-AgSoe Aung, Upper House lawmaker from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP)

“I didn’t know who U Htin Kyaw was before [he was confirmed as president]. He is the son of U Min Thu Wun, who had a good name [because of his works of literature]. He studied abroad. I also know that he is honest and industrious. We accept him. He has the capacity. He does not have executive experience, but I believe he can cope with that.”

“Today, people only accept Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We appreciate [her] sacrifices. Now all have to follow her leadership. She has spoken against partisanship, regionalism and racism. We believe Daw Aung San Suu Syi. Her actions speak. She cooperates with ethnic [parties], with the USDP. I think there will be better prospects for the country through cooperation with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.”

06-Tint-San-NgBrig-Gen Tint San Naing, military lawmaker

“I think the National League for Democracy has chosen U Htin Kyaw, as we [the military] have chosen retired Lt-Gen Myint Swe, because they think he is suitable [for the presidency]. We accept U Htin Kyaw. We believe he will be a good, capable person. However, there should not be anyone above the president. The president is at the top of the country. He is the head of state and the chief executive officer. This is enshrined in the Constitution.”

Additional reporting by Htet Naing Zaw and Tin Htet Paing.