Politicians in Myanmar have begun the process of choosing a new president, following decades of military rule.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a crushing electoral victory last year, on Thursday nominated her close ally Htin Kyaw for the presidency.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a hugely popular democracy icon and Nobel laureate, has vowed to rule "above" the president, despite being barred from top office by the army-scripted constitution, 

As the ruling party's favoured presidential candidate, Htin Kyaw is now on course to become the country's first head of state in decades who is not a former top-ranking member of the military.

Htin Kyaw runs the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity to assist people in Myanmar's poorest areas founded by Aung San Suu Kyi, and has from time to time served as her driver.

Who is Htin Kyaw?

- Among Aung San Suu Kyi's closest friends, was her classmate at high school in Yangon 

- Born in 1946

- Runs a charity founded by Aung San Suu Kyi

- The son of poet and writer Min Thu Wan, who was an NLD candidate in its 1990 election win that the military government never recognised

- Married to NLD lawmaker Su Su Lwin, whose father U Lwin is one of the party's founding members 

- Oxford graduate with a degree in economics. Worked in the finance ministry

Three presidential candidates will be nominated on Thursday - one by the lower house of parliament, one by the upper house, and one by the military bloc. The constitution gives the armed forces a quarter of seats in both houses.

Htin Kyaw, an Oxford graduate with a degree in economics, was nominated from the lower house. 

Henry Van Thio, an MP of the ethnic Chin minority, is the NLD's nominee from the upper house. 

At a later date, possibly late next week, parliament will hold a vote for president. The unsuccessful candidates will become vice presidents.


WATCH: A new era in Myanmar?


"The National League for Democracy party dominates both the upper and lower house of parliament so it will get the president of its choosing, or at least it should if everything goes smoothly," Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reported from the capital, Naypyitaw.

Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from top political office because she married and had children with a foreigner.

But she has vowed to run the country regardless through a proxy she would name as president.

The president picks the cabinet that will take over from President Thein Sein's outgoing government on April 1, with the exception of the heads of the home, defence and border security ministries who will be appointed by the armed forces chief.

Aung San Suu Kyi cannot become president since her sons are British citizens [Aung Shine Oo/AP]

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies