'I Have the Courage to be President': Suu Kyi

By Hpyo Wai Tha 8 October 2012

RANGOON—In a press conference held at the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Rangoon on Monday, party leader Aung San Suu Kyi said she was willing to serve her country as president, and confirmed that the NLD will propose an amendment to the Burmese Constitution that would allow her to do so.

Asked how she felt about President Thein Sein’s remark during a BBC interview that she could be Burma’s “future president,” Suu Kyi responded: “As the leader of a political party, I have the courage to be president, if the people so wish.”

Constitutionally, the NLD leader is not qualified to be Burma’s president as she was previously married to a British citizen and has two sons who have foreign citizenship. Burma’s 2008 Constitution requires the spouse and immediate family of the president be Burmese citizens.

“It means we need to amend the Constitution,” she said. “It’s part of the parliamentary process. We will keep pushing for it. Not just for me, but for the country.”

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi told reporters that her recent trip to the US was to “let the world know that Burma is now on the way to democracy.” She thanked the international friends who have long supported the country’s democracy movement.

She lauded the US government and its lawmakers, and said they have long stood alongside Burmese democracy forces in fighting for human rights and democratic causes.

With regard to the easing and lifting of sanctions imposed on Burma, she said that people in Washington had worked closely with Burma’s pro-democracy camp.

“They [US lawmakers] have supported us for a long time,” she said. “That’s why I went there—to show my appreciation.”

She repeated that the road to democracy is a tough one, and need lots of work.
“It’s the road our people and the Burmese democratic forces have to build together.
We have to work hard,” she said.

She reminded foreign investors to consider the country’s long-term development as well as their own interests. She also revealed her wish to visit China and to help create a better relationship between the two countries, and to assure Beijing not to worry about Burma’s newly formed closeness with the US.