06/07/2013, 00.00
MYANMAR

Aung San Suu Kyi announces her candidacy for the presidency of Myanmar

The 67-year-old leader of the democratic opposition, who spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest, confirms her intention to run in 2015. However, to do so, the constitution must be amended; a difficult task since parliament is still in the hands of the military.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - "I want to run for president and I'm quite frank about it," Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said.

Speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in the Burmese capital of Naypyidaw, the 67-year-old Nobel laureate confirmed her intention to run for the country's highest office in the next election in 2015, admitting for the first time that she wants to challenge the current president, Thein Sein and the other candidates vying for the post.

"If I pretended that I didn't want to be president, I wouldn't be honest, and I would rather be honest with my people than otherwise," the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader said. However, "for me to be eligible for the post of the presidency, the constitution will have to be amended," she acknowledged.

Under the 2008 constitution, drawn up by the military (who retained power until 2011), anyone with a spouse or children who are citizens of another country cannot run for president.

Ms Suu Kyi was married to British academic Michael Aris, who died in 1999, and has two sons who hold British passports, and so cannot run.

For this reason, the NLD wants to amend the most controversial parts of the Constitution, not an easy task since changes require a 75 per cent majority in a parliament where one quarter of all these seats are reserved for the military.

Hence, Myanmar's main opposition party has its work cut out if it wants to ensure that its leader is eligible.

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