Myanmar president Htin Kyaw resigns

Htin Kyaw was sworn in as president in 2016 after landmark elections, ending decades of military leadership

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw
Myanmar President Htin Kyaw

The president of Myanmar Htin Kyaw has resigned, his office has announced.

Although no official reason was given, there have been growing concerns in recent months about the 71-year-old’s health after he appeared frail at official functions.

Htin Kyaw was sworn in as president in 2016 after landmark elections which ended decades of military leadership.

He was essentially a ceremonial leader, with long-time opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi acting as de facto president.

The statement posted on the presidency's Facebook page said Htin Kyaw wanted to "take a rest".

Vice-President Myint Swe, a former general, would act as president until a new president is chosen within seven days, it said.

Suu Kyi, who was jailed for years under the military junta, was banned from taking the top job. She is constitutionally barred from holding the presidency because her children are foreign nationals.

Htin Kyaw's resignation comes as international pressure increases on Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi to do something to ease the suffering of the country's minority Rohingya population.

Almost 700,000 of the Muslim ethnic minority have crossed the Bangladesh border in the last six months, fleeing what the UN has described as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" by Myanmar troops.

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