Myanmar's parliament has opened a historic session to elect the country's new president.

Htin Kyaw, a longtime confidant of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is expected to be selected in Tuesday's vote by 652 members of parliament. Five lawmakers were absent from the 657-seat legislature.

He is among three final candidates to become the country's first democratically elected leader in more than half a century.

Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy party to a sweeping victory in Nov. 8 elections but is blocked by the constitution from becoming president.

Her party nominated Htin Kyaw and another NLD lawmaker Henry Van Tio. A military bloc in parliament nominated Myint Swe, a hard-line retired lieutenant general. The winner becomes president and the two others become vice presidents.