Myanmar to choose new President on 17th March


Myanmar’s new parliament, which met for the first time on 1st February, has announced that it will elect a new President for the country on 17th March.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won an overwhelming majority in the 8th November general election, taking 135 of the 224 seats in the upper chamber or House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw) and 255 of 440 seats in the lower chamber or House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw).

In both houses a third of the seats automatically go to the military which means that any constitutional changes must have the approval of the military. Aung San Suu Kyi, as the leader of the largest party might expect to be elected president but is barred by Article 59(f) because she was married to a foreigner.

There has been a lot of talk since parliament gathered at the beginning of the month that the NLD might seek to amend or nullify Article 59(f). Without the support of the military that doesn’t seem possible and the more likely scenario is that the NLD will put in place a president who answers to the NLD leader.

Yesterday the current president, Thein Sein called on lawmakers on Monday to safeguard the country’s constitution by amending or nullifying existing laws only in accordance with the constitution’s terms.

On 17th March the upper house, lower house and military will all propose candidates for the presidency, the winner will become the president and the other two will become vice-presidents.

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