Suu Kyi Seeks Presidency in Talks With Army: Local Media Report

By The Irrawaddy 1 February 2016

RANGOON — A local media report on Sunday suggested that Aung San Suu Kyi, chairwoman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), is negotiating with the military to make a move for the presidency.

Voice Weekly reported that NLD central committee member Win Htein spoke to the press in Naypyidaw on the weekend, announcing that the hugely popular party leader has discussed the possibility with Burma Army Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing.

Suu Kyi’s party will assume a majority of both houses of Parliament on Monday after its landslide win in the Nov. 8 general election, though she herself is constitutionally barred from the nation’s top executive post.

The military-drafted charter disqualifies anyone with a foreign spouse or children, a clause that is believed to have been written expressly to exclude Suu Kyi. Her late husband was a British citizen, as are her two sons.

Win Htein said the party leader will seek amendments to the Constitution, but that such changes are unlikely to be achieved within the first year of her government’s term.

In the months since the election, Suu Kyi has met twice with the powerful army chief, most recently in late January. The office of the commander-in-chief issued a statement shortly after the meeting that talks centered on “matters related to a peaceful transition in the post-election period, parliamentary issues, formation of the next government and measures to be taken to build permanent peace after the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.”

With Suu Kyi barred from assuming the presidency and the military controlling three powerful ministries, relations between the NLD chairwoman and Min Aung Hlaing are seen as a critical indicator of the extent to which the party will be able to govern effectively throughout its five-year term.