Myanmar to elect first democratic president after 50 years

Myanmar's parliament will vote on Tuesday for their next president, three candidates will compete

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives for a meeting with NLD members of parliament at Sipin Guesthouse in Naypyitaw March 10, 2016.

Myanmar's parliament votes on Tuesday to pick the country's next president from a group of three final candidates, including a front runner who is a longtime confidant of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar’s parliament will elect on Tuesday the next president of the country.

Htin Kyaw of the National League for Democracy party and a longtime confidant of Aung San Suu Kyi, was confirmed as one of the three final candidates in a parliamentary vote on Friday.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won overwhelming majorities in both houses of parliament in a Nov. 8 general election and its lawmakers are expected to confirm party nominee Htin Kyaw as the country's next leader.

The new president will take office on April 1.

This combination of file photos shows Htin Kyaw, left, Henry Van Hti Yu, center, candidates for president from the National League for Democracy party, and Myint Swe, the military's candidate for president. March 15, 2016.

Myanmar's electoral system requires the president to be chosen from candidates put forward by each of the two houses of parliament, with a third candidate from the military which holds a quarter of seats in the parliament.

The other candidates are a second NLD nominee, Henry Van Tio, and the military's candidate, Myint Swe, a retired lieutenant general.

The NLD's huge victory reflected the widespread public support for Suu Kyi, who fought for decades to end dictatorship in Myanmar and remains her party's unquestioned leader.

Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest in 1991.

She was detained for more than 15 years, mostly under house arrest, by a military junta that feared her political popularity.

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi returns after giving a speech to her supporters during the election campaign at Kawhmu Township in this March 22, 2012.

Myanmar's constitution, written under the former junta's direction, blocks Suu Kyi from becoming president because of a clause that excludes anyone with a foreign spouse or children. Suu Kyi's two sons are British, as was her late husband. The clause is widely seen as having been written by the military with Suu Kyi in mind.

Suu Kyi has said she will be "above" the president and rule from behind the scenes, meaning that any NLD candidate would effectively be her proxy.

The new government will be Myanmar's first to be democratically elected in more than half a century.

TRTWorld, AP