The presidential election we should be talking about

Today – March 15, 2016 – Myanmar (formally Burma) elected their new president. This event is significant and interesting for several reasons.

  • This is Myanmar’s first president without a military background since 1962.
  • Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and leader of the majority political party (the NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally unable to become president due to a rule that was passed into law explicitly to prevent her from becoming president.  
  • The rule prevents anyone who has foreign relatives from holding presidential office. Suu Kyi’s two sons are British, as was her late husband.
  • In weeks leading up to the election there was wild speculation that a deal would be struck that would allow Suu Kyi to become Myanmar’s next president.
  • Alas, no such deal was struck.
  • President elect Htin Kyaw is a long-time friend of Suu Kyi and it is rumored that Suu Kyi will hold just as much power with him as president compared to if she was able to be elected.
  • The current president, Thein Sein, is peacefully and willingly transferring power to Htin Kyaw.
  • This is a big day for democracy, peace, and freedom in Myanmar.

Here is a New York Times and a BBC News story about the election.

Both Jonah Fisher and Thant Myint-U are excellent follows on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.

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