Myanmar profile - Leaders

  • 17 November 2015
  • From the section Asia

Outgoing president: Thein Sein

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Image caption An ex-general, Thein Sein was seen as a reformer and a relatively untainted member of the former military junta

Thein Sein was sworn into office in March 2011, officially launching a nominally civilian government to replace almost 50 years of military rule.

He had been hand-picked by Senior General Than Shwe, the country's paramount leader since 1992, to succeed him as Myanmar's head of state.

The military-led State Peace and Development Council was dissolved, although the new cabinet included several ex-military men, many of whom were ministers in the junta.

Mr Thein Sein, who held the rank of general and was prime minister in the previous administration, competed in parliamentary elections in November 2010.

The elections were marred by the absence of the National League for Democracy party which won the previous election of 1990 by a landslide and which is led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest at the time of the election. The NLD opted to boycott the vote.

Mr Thein Sein had long been seen as the relatively untainted face of the military government, and it is thought that Senior General Than Shwe regarded him as the most suitable frontman for Myanmar's democratic transition.

He is generally considered to be a reformer, and since he became president, there have been undeniable moves towards political liberalisation.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed from house arrest soon after the 2010 election, has been allowed to resume her political activities. Her National League for Democracy won a historic victory in the first free election in 25 years in 2015. The party won enough seats in parliament to form a government and choose the next president. It is due to take over the government at the end of January 2016.

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