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Htin Kyaw elected as Myanmar’s first civilian leader

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Htin Kyaw, a close ally of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been elected Myanmar’s first civilian leader in decades after a parliamentary ballot.

A respected writer and longtime close friend of Ms Suu Kyi, Htin Kyaw is virtually guaranteed to sweep the board, with both legislative houses dominated by the Nobel laureate’s National League for Democracy thanks to its election landslide in November.

Ms Suu Kyi was the first to cast her vote.

Myanmar is in the grip of a stunning transformation from an isolated and repressed pariah state to a rapidly opening aspiring democracy.

The military remains a powerful force in the South-East Asian nation and has refused to change a clause in the junta-era constitution that bars Ms Suu Kyi from top political office.

The veteran activist has instead vowed to rule “above” the next leader.

Her choice of Htin Kyaw to act in her place is seen as a testament to her absolute faith in his loyalty.

AFP

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Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa narrowly escapes explosion at party rally

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HARARE — Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly escaped injury in an explosion on Saturday which has rocked a stadium where Zimbabwe’s president was addressing a campaign rally, with state media calling it an assassination attempt but saying the president was not hurt.

President Mnangagwa was whisked to a state house in Bulawayo, where he had been speaking ahead of next month’s historic election, the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down.

The explosion occurred as the president, accompanied by other politicians, was walking off the stage at the White City stadium after addressing thousands of supporters in advance of next month’s vote.

Mnangagwa, the 75-year-old leader of ZANU-PF, was not hurt and taken to safety, officials said. However, witnesses said several people were injured, including the Vice-President.

Several others including number security personnel, the wife of fellow Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the environment minister and the deputy speaker of parliament also suffered wounds.

Agencies

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