Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw resigned from his post today (March 21), the Irrawaddy News Online reported, citing an announcement from the President’s Office.
U Htin Kyaw was the first head of the state elected by the parliament after the National League for Democracy government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi came to power in 2016 after a landslide victory in the previous year’s election.
A close confidant of de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Htin Kyaw was viewed by critics as merely a puppet president as the person who wields the real power is State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Since last year, the public knew of the 71-year old president’s ill health due to his frail appearance and absence from some state functions. He also received medical treatment overseas.
Coincidentally on the same day, Lower House Speaker U Win Myint submitted his resignation, prompting speculation that he will be the next president.
His resignation was announced during a meeting of the parliament while U Win Myint was on official leave.
The 67-year old NLD senior member is believed to be one of Suu Kyi’s favourites among other senior NLD members. He became Lower House speaker in February 2016 after the NLA won the general election 2015.