Aung San Suu Kyi’s party Thursday nominated her former driver and close aide to be Myanmar’s next president, as the Nobel laureate looks to rule her former junta-run homeland through a trusted proxy.
Suu Kyi has vowed to rule “above” the president, despite being barred from top office by the army-scripted constitution, as she strives to fulfil the huge mandate delivered by millions of voters in her National League for Democracy’s (NLD) landslide election victory in November.
The selection of Htin Kyaw, a genial 69-year-old who went to school with Suu Kyi and now helps run her charitable foundation, comes after months of fevered speculation.
Even her own MPs were kept in the dark about the deliberations, with the party fearful of upsetting a delicate political transition in a nation where the military still casts a long shadow.
“This is an important step in implementing the desires and expectations of voters who enthusiastically supported the NLD,” Suu Kyi said in a statement published on her party website early Thursday, urging people to support the party’s goal “peacefully”.