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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   16  March  2016  






White House hails election of Myanmar’s new president

President Barack Obama's White House on Tuesday welcomed Htin Kyaw's election as Myanmar's first civilian president in half a century, saying it was "an important step" in the country's democratization.

Senior Obama advisor Ben Rhodes hailed the move and noted that the 69-year-old was a "close associate" of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi, a popular Nobel laureate, is herself barred from becoming president by the military drafted constitution. She is widely expected to wield power behind in an unofficial capacity.

Rhodes, who has led rapprochement with Myanmar, said HtinKyaw's appointment was "an important step forward in Burma's democratic transition."

"We look forward to working with his govt," he wrote on Twitter.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a thumping victory at elections in November, allowing her party to dominate Myanmar's two legislative houses.

But the military remains a powerful force and has refused to change a clause in the junta-era constitution which bars her from the presidency.

The veteran activist has instead vowed to rule "above" the next leader. Her choice of Htin Kyaw is seen as a testament to her absolute faith in his loyalty.

HtinKyaw will be sworn in on March 30, replacing incumbent Thein Sein.

It will be the first time Myanmar has had a civilian president since 1962, when the military seized power.



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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?


AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

 


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