Myanmar elects its first civilian president in decades

Htin Kyaw is a close friend and ally of Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar, Burma, president, Htin Kyaw, Aung San Suu Kyi, elections

Htin Kyaw (left), newly-elected president of Myanmar, walks with National League for Democracy party leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar's parliament in Naypyitaw, Myanmar | Image: Aung Shine Oo / AP/Press Association Images

Lawmakers in Myanmar - also known as Burma - have elected a close aide and long-time friend of Aung San Suu Kyi to become the first civilian president there in decades.

70-year-old Htin Kyaw will take office in April to become Myanmar's first democratically elected leader after more than half a century of military rule.

A hangover from the military junta, which ceded power five years ago, means Ms Suu Kyi could not become president even though her National League for Democracy (NLD) won elections last November.

She is barred from becoming president under the constitution written by the junta, which bars anyone with a foreign spouse or child from holding the top job.

Ms Suu Kyi's late husband and sons are British.

Ms Suu Kyi, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, convincingly won the country's last free vote in 1990 - but the military regime refused to hand over control.

She was to spend most of the next 20 years under house arrest before her release in 2010.

She travelled to Dublin in 2012 to accept the Amnesty International 'Ambassador of Conscience' Award from 2009.