09/30/2014, 00.00
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Burmese Dissident: Little chance of Aung San Suu Kyi becoming President

by Francis Khoo Thwe
For Aye Chan Naing, director of the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the Nobel Peace Laureate will “lead" the party in elections; however, the possibility of constitutional change to allow it to run for head of state are "very poor". For the presidential race he predicts the presence of personalities from the "Generation 88" student movement.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - In the 2015 election campaign, Aung San Suu Kyi "will be at the helm" of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party and "play a key role". However, any possibility of her becoming the future President of Myanmar, looks "very difficult, if not impossible".

This is what Aye Chan Naing, director of the dissident website Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), tells AsiaNews  regarding the rumors - later denied - that the NLD would have supported the current president of the Parliament (and former general) Shwe Mann in presidential elections next year. The position of the main opposition movement remains unclear given that it insists it will support Suu Kyi, who in reality is excluded from the race for the most important office in the state.

Controversy has been sparked by alleged statements by NLD leader Hantha Myint in an interview with Reuters that the party is "considering the possibility" of supporting Shwe Mann for president in 2015. However, the politician has strongly denied this, saying "no reference" was made to the current President of the Parliament in the conversation with the reporter.

Within hours of being published on September 23 the article had fueled deep resentment in Burmese civil society, over what is seen as giving in to the ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), whose members belong to or are close to the former military junta. This is why the NLD leaders issued a strict crackdown in an official statement to deny the news. The next day Suu Kyi intervened and spoke of "probable misreading" of the words of Hantha Myint, interviewed along with NLD spokesman Nyan Win.

At the center of the controversy the infamous article 59 of the Constitution of Myanmar, a norm tailored to preventing tAung San Suu Kyi from running for head of state. It  prevents a Burmese citizen from becoming president if he or she has children abroad (hers are British, as was her deceased husband) .

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Aye Chan Naing said that among candidates for the presidency, "there are some former military officers," but " other options remain open " including "leader of the second generation" student movement, "" Generation 88 ". A leading dissident he is currently the head of a radiostation based in Oslo (Norway), founded by Burmese diaspora around the democratic opposition, which has repeatedly witnessed the violence of the military against civilians and Buddhist monks.'

The NLD, he adds, is still "the most popular party in Myanmar", but its leading exponent "cannot be nominated for president under the current Constitution" and is therefore forced to find another name. Either way he does not consider support for the Shwe Mann candidacy likely, although nothing is certain.

Finally, on the subject of last minute changes in the Charter which could allow Aung San Suu Kyi to participate in the presidential vote, the Dvb director says that "everything is possible, but the chances are very slim". "This Constitution is written in such a way - comments Aye Chan Naing - that it is almost impossible to change it without affecting leaders of the government or the military."



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