02:48 - Source: CNN
Rohingyas' hope rests with Myanmar's new government

Story highlights

Htin Kyaw, a trusted aide of party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, is the first civilian president to be sworn in after decades of junta rule

Kyaw is expected to act as a proxy for Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency

CNN —  

After 56 years of military junta rule, Myanmar has its first civilian president.

Htin Kyaw, left, walks with Aung San Suu Kyi at his swearing in ceremony.

Htin Kyaw, a trusted aide to Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, was sworn in during a ceremony that took place Wednesday morning in the country’s capital of Naypyidaw. He had been voted in as the party’s choice for leader earlier in March.

The 69-year-old economics graduate from the National League for Democracy (NLD) takes over from Thein Sein, who introduced far-reaching reforms during his five years in power.

Thein Sein’s rule led to the country’s first free elections in decades, as well as the easing of Western sections and an increase in foreign investment.

Suu Kyi, the leader of the NLD party, was present for the swearing in. She is barred constitutionally from the country’s highest office because her sons are foreign citizens but is expected to rule by proxy.

Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?

Long history

She and Kyaw have a long history, having attended high school together. Kyaw was also one of a handful of people allowed to visit her during her 15 years under house arrest.

He was elected in 1990 as a parliament executive of the NLD.

Myanmar elects Htin Kyaw as new president

In November, the NLD swept national elections, taking around 80% of the available seats. However the system is still configured in favor of the military, which gets to appoint a quarter of all lawmakers in the two houses of parliament, and holds a veto on changes to the constitution, and thus Suu Kyi’s political aspirations.