Aung San Suu Kyi ruled out of running for Burma's next president
Published 10/03/2016 | 11:06
The party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has officially confirmed that she will not become Burma's next president.
Unofficially, she has vowed to be the de-facto leader by calling the shots from behind the scenes, and party members said that is how things will work in Burma's first democratically elected government in more than half a century.
The party nominated two Suu Kyi loyalists for the post including front-runner Htin Kyaw, a 70-year-old Oxford graduate.
The nomination will be followed by a vote among legislators later this month before the new president is installed on April 1.
"I'm very happy and very pleased and I believe he (Htin Kyaw) will work together with Aung San Suu Kyi for the benefit of the people," said Khin Su Su Kyi, an NLD politician.
For the past several weeks Ms Suu Kyi is believed to have held closed-door talks with the powerful military generals to suspend a constitutional clause that bars her from the presidency.
The outcome of the negotiations was not known until Thursday when the names of the loyalists were announced, signalling the end, at least for now, of Ms Suu Kyi's long-time ambition to be Burma's leader.
Ms Suu Kyi did not attend the high-profile nomination session but posted a letter on Facebook to her legions of supporters. She called it a "first step toward realising the expectations and desires of the people who overwhelmingly supported the National League for Democracy in the elections".
The long-time former political prisoner led her National League for Democracy to a landslide victory in November general elections, paving the way for the country's first democratically elected government since the military took power in 1962.
Despite her massive popular support, the 70-year-old is blocked from the presidency because the constitution bars anyone with a foreign spouse or children from holding the executive office. Ms Suu Kyi's two sons are British, as was her late husband. The clause is widely seen as having been written by the military with her in mind.
During the parliament session, the NLD nominated, from the lower house, Htin Kyaw, a long-time confidante and associate of Ms Suu Kyi. He is widely respected and seen as a front-runner.
"I think he is the best one for the country. He has experience, he's fair and he's a real gentleman so our country's future will be very good," said Kyaw Win Maung, an NLD politician.
From the upper house, the NLD nominated Henry Van Hti Yu of the ethnic Chin minority.
The outgoing ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, also nominated two candidates - Sai Mauk Kham, currently a vice president, and former upper house speaker Khin Aung Myint.
The military bloc, which holds a constitutionally mandated 25% of seats, is also allowed to nominate one candidate. His name has not yet been announced. But he will likely become the country's other vice president.
A vote will be held later this month to elect the president and two vice presidents.
The NLD candidates are assured of a victory given the party's control of both chambers. One of them will become the president and the other will become a vice president.
Ms Suu Kyi fought for decades to end dictatorship in Burma, and remains her party's unquestioned leader. She was awarded the 1991 Nobel prize while under house arrest, where she spent 15 years locked away by a junta that feared her political popularity.