Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw resigned from his post, the President’s Office announced on Wednesday, just shy of two years in office.
The short announcement made on Wednesday morning stated that the president was stepping down “as he wants to retire from his duties.”
Constitutionally, the new president will be appointed within seven working days, according to the statement.
Currently, the country’s Vice President 1, U Myint Swe, a former lieutenant general, will serve as acting president.
U Htin Kyaw was the first head of the state elected by Parliament after the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy government came to power in 2016 after a landslide victory in the previous year’s general election. He is a close confidant of de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
In his critics’ eyes, the soft-spoken elderly man was merely a “puppet president.” While he is formally the head of state and constitutionally the highest authority in the land, the amount of actual power he wields is questionable. “The Lady,” as State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is known, had already made it known during the election campaign that she would be “above the president,” as the Constitution bans her from holding the office. It is an open secret in Myanmar who has the final say on matters of state.
Since last year, the public knew of the 71-year-old president’s ill health due to his frail appearance and absence from some state functions. He also received medical treatments overseas.