Myanmar ruling party names presidential candidate

Nay Pyi Taw, March 10 (IANS) Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party on Thursday nominated Htin Kyaw, Aung San Suu Kyi’s close aide, as presidential candidate for the country’s lower house.

The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which was crushed in last November’s general elections, also put forward a candidate although the current ruling party now only holds a handful of seats, The Myanmar Times reported.

Sai Mauk Kham, the current vice president, was nominated as the party’s lower house candidate, and U Khin Aung Myint, former speaker of the upper house, is expected to be named as its upper house candidate.

However, the two chambers will have to vote separately to select one candidate each.

Parliament’s bloc of appointed military MPs do not take part in those votes.

Under the constitution, the military submits the name of its candidate directly to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the combined sitting of the two chambers which then votes to choose the president, first vice president and second vice president.

Suu Kyi is barred from top political office by a military-drafted constitution.

That vote is expected next week.

Incumbent President U Thein Sein’s five-year term ends on March 30.

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