Suu Kyi keen to run for Myanmar president

Opposition head wants change to constitution blocking those whose spouses or children are overseas citizens from post.

    Suu Kyi keen to run for Myanmar president
    Aung San Suu Kyi was locked up by the former military government for a total of 15 years [AFP]

    Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has declared her intention to run for the presidency as she sets her sights on elections due to be held in 2015.

    Addressing world leaders and heads of business at a major economic forum in the capital Naypyidaw, the Nobel Peace laureate called for the amendment of the military-drafted constitution which prevents her from leading the country.

    The current constitution blocks anyone whose spouses or children are overseas citizens from leading the country.

    If I pretended that I didn't want to be president I wouldn't be honest.

    Aung San Suu Kyi
    Myanmar opposition leader,

    "I want to run for president and I'm quite frank about it," the veteran democracy activist told delegates at the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

    "If I pretended that I didn't want to be president I wouldn't be honest," she added.

    Suu Kyi's two sons with her late husband Michael Aris are British and the clause is widely believed to be targeted at the Nobel laureate.

    Helen Clark, administrator of the UN Development Programme, who was at the forum in Myanmar, welcomed Suu Kyi's candidacy.

    "I was signing appeals for Aung San Suu Kyi's release from house arrest going back many, many years when I was prime minister of New Zealand," Clark said in an interview with Al Jazeera.

    "I very much hope that the constitutional changes will be made, which would enable her to contest, a free and fair election for the leadership of her country".       

    President Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government has made a number of political and economic reforms that have led to the lifting of most Western sanctions.

    Hundreds of political prisoners have been freed, democracy champion Suu Kyi has been welcomed into a new parliament and tentative ceasefires have been reached in the country's multiple ethnic civil wars.

    Suu Kyi, who was herself locked up by the former military government for a total of 15 years, remains hugely popular in Myanmar and her National League for Democracy party is widely expected to win the elections if they are free and fair.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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