Deputy no more, T Khun Myat elected Lower House speaker

Deputy no more, T Khun Myat elected Lower House speaker

Lawmakers in the Lower House elected T Khun Myat as their speaker on Thursday, and the chairman of the chamber’s Bill Committee Tun Tun Hein to serve as his deputy, just one day after it was announced that T Khun Myat’s predecessor was stepping down.

T Khun Myat had served as deputy Lower House speaker since the current crop of parliamentarians took their seats in February 2016. He informed lawmakers of the resignation of his predecessor, Win Myint, at a session of Parliament on Wednesday.

That announcement was preceded just hours earlier by the release of a statement from the President’s Office indicating that President Htin Kyaw would resign, effective immediately, and the rapid sequence of events has led to widespread speculation that Win Myint may be next in line for the presidency.

In Thursday’s vote, T Khun Myat received 280 votes out of 405 cast. Tun Tun Hein garnered a 270-vote majority in securing the deputy speakership.

The Lower House’s new speaker is a former member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party who was elected under the military-backed party’s banner to represent Kutkai Township, Shan State, in the 2015 general election. He subsequently dropped his party affiliation.

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Tun Tun Hein is a member of the ruling National League for Democracy representing Nawnghkio Township in Shan State.

The lower chamber moved quickly to shore up its leadership ranks in the face of a constitutionally enumerated timetable requiring that the Union Parliament elect a new president within seven days of Htin Kyaw’s resignation.

Lower House lawmakers must first select an individual to serve as one of what amounts to three presidential contenders, among whom the president will ultimately be selected in a vote by the full Union Parliament. The current senior vice president, Myint Swe, is serving as acting president until Htin Kyaw’s successor is chosen; Henry Van Thio is the country’s “vice president No. 2”, and the two men will round out the trio from which Burma’s next president will emerge.

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