NAY PYI TAW — In a rare sit-down meeting with reporters in Nay Pyi Taw, National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi hinted that it may take some time for her party to finalise its presidential nominations, fuelling already rampant speculation that the party is seeking a constitutional compromise to install the Nobel laureate as president.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi chided reporters at the Wednesday evening meeting for repeatedly asking party officials about the NLD’s presidential candidates since last November’s election, telling those present that she was aware of what she deemed numerous unfounded and incorrect reports on the party’s intentions.
“The time allowed is until March. So, please don’t make haste, I’ll announce it in due course,” she said to the 26 local and foreign reporters present.
Since the election, numerous sources in the NLD have floated the idea of “suspending” Section 59(f) of the Constitution, which bars anyone with immediate family members in possession of foreign citizenship from assuming the presidency, in order to allow Daw Aung San Suu Kyi the post.
U Tin Oo, the cofounder and patron of the NLD, this week rebuffed suggestions he would be nominated for the presidency while speaking to the Myanmar Times, saying he would prefer a compromise which allowed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi the presidency.
Any formal abolition of Section 59(f) would require the assent of military lawmakers, who have an effective veto on constitutional reform through their control of 25 percent of the legislature.
A concession from the Tatmadaw remains unlikely, despite reports The military-run newspaper Myawaddy published an editorial on Tuesday saying that the provision of the Constitution blocking a Suu Kyi presidency should never be altered.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the NLD leader expressed her satisfaction with the appointment of the party’s nominated speakers and deputy speakers in Union Parliament, saying the lack of opposition objections reflected the spirit of cooperation since the NLD assumed a parliamentary majority.
The successful nomination of T. Khun Myat, a Union Solidarity and Development MP and former chairman of the Lower House Bill Committee, was marred by controversy over a 2011 report accusing him of involvement in the drug trade during his time as head of the Kutkai militia in Shan State. He has denied the allegations.
Additional reporting by Sean Gleeson in Yangon.