Putting an end to speculations, Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD) has proposed a close friend of Aung San Suu Kyi as its presidential candidate. The party put forward the name of Htin Kyaw, Suu Kyi’s long term associate, as its lower house candidate. Mr. Kyaw who joined the party two months back, runs a charity founded by Suu Kyi.
Though the NLD had an absolute electoral victory in November, Suu Kyi is barred from standing for the presidency under the military- drafted constitution. Considering this, the Nobel laureate said that she would run the country through a proxy.
On Thursday, in her appeal to the party workers, Ms. Suu Kyi said, “I would like to appeal for people to support and stand by the NLD with wisdom and far-sightedness,” she said. “The NLD is determined to meet people’s expectations and will do its best.”
The party also nominated Henry Vantriu, a member of the Chin ethnic group who hail from Chin state in the country’s northwest bordering India and Bangladesh, as its presidential candidate for the upper house. This is in accordance with Myanmar’s indirect system for electing a president, in which three candidates will be nominated – one by the lower house, one by the upper house, and one by the military bloc in parliament. The constitution gives the armed forces a quarter of seats in both houses.
The three nominees will be vetted by a parliamentary commission. After that, both houses of parliament will come together for a joint session to vote on the presidency, with the winner elected president and the two losing nominees becoming vice presidents.
The president picks the cabinet that will take over from President Thein Sein’s outgoing government on April 1, with the exception of the heads of the home, defence and border security ministries who will be appointed by the armed forces chief.