Myanmar's parliament elected a close friend and confidant of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as president on Tuesday, making Htin Kyaw the first head of state since the 1960s who does not hail from a military background.
Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy (NLD) to a landslide election win in November, but a constitution drafted by the former junta bars her from the top office.
She has vowed to run the country anyway through a proxy president, and on Thursday the NLD nominated Htin Kyaw for the role. He runs a charity founded by Suu Kyi and has been a trusted member of her inner circle since the mid-1990s. He is not a lawmaker.
"Today's result is because of the love of people for her. It is the victory of my sister Aung San Suu Kyi," Htin Kyaw told reporters after the vote.
The United States, which has backed Myanmar's transition to civilian government and refers to the country as Burma, called Htin Kyaw's election "yet another important step forward in Burma's democratic transition."