Presidential vote next week, says Hluttaw office

NAY PYI TAW & YANGON  — Though nomination of Myanmar’s three vice-presidential candidates is expected on Thursday, it will take at least another four days to confirm their candidacies and elect a president, according to a parliamentary spokesman.

Under the terms of Myanmar’s Constitution, the Pyithu Hluttaw, Amyotha Hluttaw and military lawmakers each caucus separately to elect a vice-presidential candidate. A joint sitting of the Union parliament is then held to vote on which of the three candidates will become the next president.

The vice-presidential nominations will take place on Thursday, after parliament last week resolved to bring the vote forward by one week.

According to U Ko Ko Naing, director of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Office, the vice-presidential nominations will need to be vetted by a parliamentary review committee before the presidential vote can occur, leaving March 14 as the earliest possible date for a new president to be ordained.

“March 12 and 13 are the weekend, so confirmation of the president and vice-presidents cannot be made earlier than 14 Mar,” U Ko Ko Naing told Frontier.

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A total of more than 660 reporters and over 1000 observers have registered to witness the election of vice-presidents on Thursday.

Figures from the National League for Democracy expect that ministerial appointments at state, regional and Union level will be finalised by the third week of March, to take office at the beginning of April.

The NLD’s majorities in both houses of the Union parliament guarantee the party the opportunity to determine both the president and one of the two vice-presidents. U Htin Kyaw, a childhood friend and close confidante of NLD leader Daw Aung Suu Kyi, is widely tipped to be the party’s presidential nominee.

On Sunday, a statement purporting to be from the NLD leadership said the party would field U Htin Kyaw and Shan Nationalities League for Democracy leader U Khun Tun Oo as its vice-presidential candidates. The statement was denounced as a fake the following day.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is herself ineligible to contest the presidency because the military-drafted 2008 Constitution bars candidates who have relatives with foreign citizenship. She has declared she will rule “above” the next president, who will be expected to act as her proxy by the NLD leadership.

By Soe Than Lynn

By Soe Than Lynn

Political reporter Soe Than Lynn knows Nay Pyi Taw inside out. He has been reporting from the Myanmar capital for several years.
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