Suu Kyi loyalist set to replace Myanmar’s ill president

YANGON:  Myanmar's civilian President Htin Kyaw resigned due to ill health yesterday and is expected to be replaced by a close ally of de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a move unlikely to affect power in a country where the army remains influential.

Mr Htin Kyaw's office said he was retiring "in order to take rest from the current duties and responsibilities".

Mr Win Myint, a Suu Kyi loyalist who has served as the speaker of the lower house, is likely to replace him, said NLD spokesman Aung Shin.

Mr Myint has had a tight grip on the parliament and his critics accuse him of stifling democratic debate, including from within the caucus of Ms Suu Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

"He is loyal and has been a member of the NLD since the party was founded," said Mr Aung Shin, who lauded Mr Myint's performance as the lower house speaker and said he has "worked very well with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during the whole period".

Ms Suu Kyi is known for keeping her cards close to her chest and operating only with a very narrow group of trusted acolytes.

Local media, citing confidential sources, have also reported Mr Myint has been tipped to become the next president.

In the meantime, Mr Myint Swe, who was the military's appointment for vice-president, will stand in as the acting President. - REUTERS