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Parliamentarians will nominate three candidates for Burma’s presidency on 10 March, ending months of political horse-trading over the office of the country’s first democratically elected leader.
The date for the nomination process, announced by Union Parliament speaker Mahn Win Khaing on Tuesday, falls a week earlier than previously anticipated. The election-winning National League for Democracy (NLD) will begin its five-year governmental term on 1 April.
Union Parliament will review the candidates, one proposed by the lower house, one by the upper house and another by the unelected military MPs that make up 25 percent of Burma’s bicameral legislature. One will be elected president, the remaining two will be appointed as vice presidents.
The issue of who will take up the mantle from the outgoing President Thein Sein has exposed friction between the current junta-installed government and its NLD successors. Aung San Suu Kyi, having led the NLD to victory in the country’s first clean vote in decades, is considered by the party’s core as the natural choice to take the top job. However Suu Kyi, whose children are British, is handicapped by a constitutional clause blocking those with foreign family members from becoming president.
The Nobel-laureate has held a series of meetings in recent weeks with Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to negotiate an amendment to the army-drafted charter, a cause which NLD party members say is now lost. Suu Kyi is expected to install a proxy leader and has previously stated that she will be “above the president” as of April.
On Tuesday the NLD announced the formation of a secretariat to “supervise and lead the party”, a five-member group drawn from the party’s Central Executive Committee. Appointed was Win Htein, Win Myint, Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, Nyan Win and Hanthar Myint.