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Myanmar-Sikyong-2016Dharamshala — Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay today congratulated Mr U Htin Kyaw who was elected by the Myanmar Parliament as the first civilian President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in more than five decades.

In the message, the Tibetan political leader said: "I, on behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration and the entire Tibetan people, heartily congratulate you on being sworn-in as the new President of Myanmar."

"You represent the democratic progress, heroic perseverance and the noble reconciliation of the people of Myanmar under the peaceful leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It is indeed a sign of Myanmar's tremendous resilience and a source of strength and inspiration for the entire world including the Tibetan people," Sikyong said.

"I wish you success in your efforts to make Myanmar a better and happier place as the new President. At the same time, I hope that you will raise your vital voice to forge a quick resolution of the Tibet issue. Tibet, besides sharing a common Buddhist heritage, is unified with the people of Myanmar by their deep commitment to democracy, the universality of human rights, religious harmony, and the brotherhood of all peoples," Dr Sangay added.

Mr Htin Kyaw became the first-elected civilian president of Myanmar in 50 years following Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) party's massive victory in the Burmese general election in November 2015.

Mr Htin Kyaw got 360 of the total 652 votes in a joint session of the Upper and Lower Houses yesterday morning. Second vice-president Henry Van Thio, 58, a little-known ethnic Chin Christian and an NLD MP in the Upper House, was elected with 79 votes.

Ms Suu Kyi, 70, cannot be president because of a clause in the junta-era Constitution that bars anyone with foreign relatives from the post; her two sons are British citizens. But she has said she will be "above" the president, indicating Mr Htin Kyaw will be her proxy. She also told NLD MPs recently after his nomination that he had been chosen on three criteria - loyalty, discipline and qualifications.

The president-elect has a master's degree in economics from Rangoon University and studied computer science in London and, briefly, management in the US while working for 12 years in the foreign affairs ministry.

During Ms Suu Kyi's 15-odd years of detention, he was one of the few allowed to see her. During a short period of freedom for her in 2000, he was jailed for four months for trying to help Ms Suu Kyi take a train out of Yangon in breach of the junta's travel restrictions.

A couple of hours after the vote, leaders around the world, including US President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi sent their congratulations to U Htin Kyaw on being elected president of Myanmar, saying they will work together to strengthen diplomatic ties with Myanmar.

The party of democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi has won a majority in Myanmar's parliament last year and World leaders had congratulated her on a landmark victory in the country's first free election in 25 years.

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