Presidential Nominations to be Considered March 17

By San Yamin Aung 8 February 2016

RANGOON — Convening for the first time on Monday, the speaker of Burma’s Union Parliament announced that presidential nominations would be considered on March 17, more than four months since a general election that saw the National League for Democracy (NLD) win a commanding majority.

Union Parliament Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than of the NLD said the Lower House, Upper House and bloc of military-appointed lawmakers, which together constitute the country’s electoral college, would discuss their respective nominations on March 17.

The Union Parliament will then meet to elect a president from among the three candidates, the remaining two of whom will become the country’s vice presidents.

With the NLD holding a majority in both houses, the party will be able to select two candidates. NLD chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi remains constitutionally barred from the position.

With the March 17 date still more than one month away, observers have speculated that the NLD may be buying time for possible negotiations with the military on amending or suspending Article 59(f), the clause of the charter which effectively rules out a Suu Kyi presidency.

In the previous Parliament dominated by the army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), a pool of three candidates were selected on Feb. 3, 2011, with Thein Sein appointed president the following day.

The term of Thein Sein’s administration will expire on March 31.