Myanmar elects a president

 Htin Kyaw has been elected president of Myanmar, and he will step into this role at the end of this month. Kyaw will be the first civilian president of the country in over 50 years.

Myanmar, known as Burma until 1989, got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. From 1962 until 2010, the nation was ruled by military governments. In 2010, elections were held and a new government was elected. However, the president elected was a former military leader. In the last few years, Myanmar has been going through changes and is moving towards becoming a more democratic country.

A very famous leader of Myanmar is Aung San Suu Kyi (image). She is 70 years old and has spent a good part of her life peacefully protesting the military regime that was ruling Myanmar. Between 1990 and 2010, she spent about 15 years under house arrest (a prisoner in her own home). Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She was not allowed by the constitution to become the president as her kids have British citizenship. The constitution requires all the children of the president to have Burmese citizenship. Kyaw is an ally of Suu Kyi. One of the quotes about Suu Kyi was that she was “an outstanding example of the power of the powerless”. You often see her with flowers in her hair and wearing a longyi, a traditional wrap-around.

Image Credits: Claude Truong-Ngoc for Suu Kyi’s image