Naypyidaw / AFP
Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi thanked her supporters on Wednesday and sounded a hopeful note for the future, in her first comments after lawmakers approved her chosen proxy to become the nation’s first civilian president in decades.
The veteran activist said she was proud of MPs from her National League for Democracy for rallying around Htin Kyaw, a close aide and longtime friend, who will now lead the former junta-run country in her place as it embarks on a new era of democratic rule.
She also thanked the millions of voters who handed her party a whopping election win in November polls, the freest in generations.
“I don’t know how to properly express thanks to our people who have long peacefully supported the works of the NLD. I believe we can overcome all of the challenges we will have to face along with our people,” she said in a written statement.
Though Htin Kyaw took the title of president Tuesday following a parliamentary vote, he hailed the day as “Suu Kyi’s victory”.
The taciturn but wildly popular democracy icon is blocked from the top office by a junta-era charter. But she has vowed to stay in control of the party by directing Htin Kyaw from behind the scenes.
Little known outside his country until this week, Htin Kyaw received congratulations from foreign leaders around the globe after his election.
Myanmar’s still-powerful military also said it was “pleased” with his presidency and vowed to cooperate with the NLD, a party packed with democracy activists once jailed by the army for protesting its harsh rule.
“The Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) will go on to cooperate with (his government) and carry out every upcoming process for peace, stability, unity and development,” the army said in a statement.