Myanmar's National League for Democracy picks presidential nominees

Myanmar's National League for Democracy party put forward its nominations for president Thursday, four months after a landslide election victory, and confirming that its leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not hold the post.

A close advisor to Suu Kyi, Htin Kyaw, is the NLD's nominee from the lower house, making him a favourite to become president in a vote expected next week.

He is the son of a prominent poet, as well as being Suu Kyi's former classmate and chauffeur, and had been widely tipped as a candidate for the top post.

Henry Van Thio, a member of the ethnic Chin minority, is the NLD's nominee from the upper house of parliament.

The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which had ruled Myanmar before the November poll, also put forward its nominations from both houses, but its minority status gives them little chance of success.

The nominations followed numerous reports of closed-door negotiations over whether Suu Kyi herself could become president despite a constitutional ban.

A clause in the constitution states that no one with immediate family holding foreign citizenship can hold the post. Suu Kyi was married to a Briton, and her two sons are British citizens.

The still-powerful military bloc in parliament will choose its own nominee, although this is not expected to happen on Thursday.

One of the nominees will then be chosen as president in a vote on March 17 or 18. Two of the nominees will become vice-presidents.

The post of president has been fiercely debated since November 8, when the country held its first openly contested elections in a quarter of a century.

Suu Kyi vowed after the election to rule "from above the presidency," and said she expected the new president to follow the NLD's policies.

Last update: Thu, 10/03/2016 - 10:55
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