An ethnic Karen Christian has been selected as Speaker, a senior job in Myanmar’s Upper House that is seen as a reconciliation effort towards the country’s ethnic minorities, says UCA News.

Mahn Win Khaing Than was appointed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, which swept to power in Myanmar’s first openly contested election for 25 years.

Baptist Khaing Than, one of at least 40 Christians in the new parliament, is a lawyer and politician.

His grandfather was assassinated along with Suu Kyi’s own father, who in 1947 negotiated the country’s independence alongside other ethnic leaders. Civil war and ethnic rebellion followed independence, continued by some groups to this day. Among them are ethnic groups who are majority Christian: including the Kachin and the Karen.

Christians are hopeful that under Suu Kyi’s leadership the new government will address the pressing issues of Myanmar’s more than 100 ethnic groups.

“I am very proud of [Khaing Than] and I see that choosing an ethnic minority as Speaker advances the national reconciliation effort by Suu Kyi,” Catholic parliamentarian Mahn Johnny said on 2 Feb.