Not president? Suu Kyi 'plans to lead govt' if her party wins polls

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi taking to the stage during her election campaign in Moe Nyin, Kachin State, on Sunday. "The leader of the NLD government would have to be me, because I'm the leader of my party," she said in an interview.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi taking to the stage during her election campaign in Moe Nyin, Kachin State, on Sunday. "The leader of the NLD government would have to be me, because I'm the leader of my party," she said in an interview.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

YANGON • Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said she plans to lead the next government if her National League for Democracy (NLD) comes to power in the Nov 8 election, despite being barred from becoming president.

The NLD is expected to do well in the election, billed as the country's first free and fair contest in 25 years, but Myanmar's military-drafted Constitution blocks Ms Suu Kyi from becoming president because her late husband and two sons are not Myanmar citizens.

There is no earmarked deputy to the Nobel laureate in the NLD and the party's failed efforts to amend the Constitution to allow Ms Suu Kyi to become president have led to speculation about who would lead an NLD-majority government.

"I've made it quite clear that if the NLD wins elections and we form a government, I'm going to be the leader of that government whether or not I'm the president," Ms Suu Kyi told the Indian television channel, India Today TV.

The comments are some of Ms Suu Kyi's most detailed on her post-election ambitions.

"Why not? Should you have to be president to lead a country?" said Ms Suu Kyi. "The leader of the NLD government would have to be me, because I'm the leader of my party."

Asked if she planned to emulate India's Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi - who named Dr Manmohan Singh as prime minister when her party formed the government but retained immense power herself - Ms Suu Kyi said: "Oh no, no, no, not quite like that. So you wait and see." She did not elaborate.

In Myanmar, the president is chosen from three candidates nominated by the two houses of Parliament and the military, which holds a quarter of the seats in the bicameral chamber. The president then forms the government. There is no prime minister.

The NLD leader has forged ties with former general Shwe Mann, the parliamentary Speaker who was ousted by President Thein Sein from the leadership of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party in August.

Ms Suu Kyi's ties with Mr Shwe Mann sparked speculation that the NLD might select him as a presidential nominee but she distanced herself from the idea during the interview. "We will have a civilian member of our party," Ms Suu Kyi said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2015, with the headline 'Not president? Suu Kyi 'plans to lead govt' if her party wins polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe