Asia

Myanmar begins presidential selection as Aung San Suu Kyi ruled out

  • 10 March 2016
  • From the section Asia
Media captionJonah Fisher says that NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi will effectively tell Htin Kyaw to 'do as he's told'

Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) has named its candidates to be president, confirming that its leader Aung San Suu Kyi is not a contender.

Ms Suu Kyi failed to persuade the military to allow a clause barring her from the presidency to be overruled.

Under the clause she cannot be leader as her sons are British, not Burmese.

But she has vowed to lead from the sidelines instead. The candidate thought most likely to become president, Htin Kyaw, is a close aide.

The NLD, which won a landslide in November, has named Htin Kyaw as its lower house nominee for vice president, and Henry Van Thio, an MP from the Chin ethnic minority, as its upper house nominee.

Media captionBBC's Myanmar correspondent Jonah Fisher explains how the country is choosing its new president

Both houses will choose between the NLD's candidates and those from other parties, but because the NLD holds a majority in both houses, its candidates are likely to be chosen.

The winner from each house will then enter a second vote to decide the president of the country. A military nominated candidate will also compete in this vote.

The two losing candidates will become vice-presidents. It is not clear when the votes will take place.

Correspondents say Htin Kyaw is almost certain to be elected president by the NLD-controlled parliament.

Read more: Aung San Suu Kyi - Power not presidency in Myanmar


Jonah Fisher, BBC News, Nay Pyi Taw - 'No deal'

She tried right to the last. But there was no deal. Despite a huge win in the election, Aung San Suu Kyi failed to convince the army that her destiny was the presidency.

Clause 59F of the constitution which bars her because her sons have British not Burmese passports remains in place, and she has now chosen someone else.

It's Htin Kyaw, who she's known all her life. He's a committed member of the party and was by her side when Ms Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in 2010.

His most important quality may be the ability to take orders. Aung San Suu Kyi has made it clear that though she does not have the title - she will still be in charge.


The NLD won the majority of non-military seats available in parliament in last year's historic general election, although the army - which still controls a quarter of all parliamentary seats and key security ministries - remains a significant force in Burmese politics.

The new government will take power on 1 April - the first freely elected government after more than 50 years of military rule and then five years of military-backed civilian government.


Who is Htin Kyaw?

Image copyright Reuters
  • Htin Kyaw, 70, is Ms Suu Kyi's close aide.
  • He is said to be a quietly spoken man who attended university in the UK. He has a reputation for honesty and loyalty, and has kept a low profile.
  • His father, the writer and poet Min Thu Wun, won a seat for the party at the 1990 election.
  • His wife, Su Su Lwin, is the daughter of an NLD founder, as well as being a sitting MP, and a prominent party member.
  • He has played a senior role at the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, the charity founded in honour of Suu Kyi's late mother, and has been frequently seen at the NLD leader's side, serving as her driver from time to time.

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