RANGOON — An executive member of an Aung San Suu Kyi-led foundation has been tipped as one of the presidential candidates to be submitted by the National League for Democracy (NLD) on Thursday.
Htin Kyaw is a senior executive with the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a non-profit health and education charity named for Suu Kyi’s mother. There has been speculation about his nomination for the post since the NLD’s sweeping election victory in November of last year.
As the winning party, the NLD will make its presidential bids in Parliament on March 10. Aung San Suu Kyi, the party chairwoman, is constitutionally barred from the role by Article 59 (f), a clause that does not allow those with a foreign spouse or children to hold the presidency. Suu Kyi’s two sons hold British citizenship, as did her late husband.
There have been three meetings between Suu Kyi and Burma’s military leaders since the election, but the military was not willing to amend or suspend the law.
Although the NLD has since been tight-lipped on those recommended for the presidency, inside sources report that Htin Kyaw, a 70-year old Mon-Burmese University of London graduate, is now high on the list.
Htin Kyaw is believed to one of The Lady’s right-hand men; within the NLD he has built a reputation as a man of honesty.
Born in Rangoon as Dala Ban—a name he shares with a famous Mon warrior—Htin Kyaw is the son of Min Thuwun, one of Burma’s national poets. Politics is integral in the family’s history: Min Thuwun was an elected lawmaker in the 1990 elections that also delivered a landslide victory to the NLD. Additionally, Htin Kyaw’s father-in-law, U Lwin, is one of the party’s founding members.
His wife, Su Su Lwin, is a newly minted Lower House NLD lawmaker recently appointed as the chairperson for the chamber’s international relations committee.
Htin Kyaw is also a writer who pens under the pet name his dad gave him—Dala Ban. He published a book on his father in 2009.
A previous version of this story incorrectly described Htin Kyaw as an Oxford graduate. He graduated from the University of London, where he studied computer science.