1 minute readMyanmar parliament selects ex-general as president

Myanmar’s parliament Friday elected former army general Thein Sein as the country’s president, giving him the power to select a cabinet and head a powerful new security council.

Thein Sein, 65, is also chairman in military-run Myanmar of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which won 77 percent of the contested seats in the November 7 elections last year, the first to be held in 20 years.

His two rivals for the presidency, ex-general Tin Aung Myint Oo and Sai Mauk Kham, both of whom belong to the USDP, became vice presidents, government sources said.

Thein Sein was deemed the favourite of Senior General Than Shwe, Myanmar’s junta chief since 1992.

Thein Sein is empowered to choose the next cabinet, to be approved by parliament, and he is to chair the powerful National Defence and Security Council, a new entity that is to have far-reaching powers over both the government and the military.

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