Aung San Suu Kyi’s bid to become the next president of Myanmar has come to an end after her party named an alternative candidate.
The decision confirms Ms Suu Kyi could not convince military leaders to suspend the part of Myanmar’s constitution that disqualifies her from the presidency.
But she will likely lead the country by proxy, with her close confidant Htin Kyaw now expected to win the presidency.
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has missed out on becoming Myanmar’s president.
That comes despite her National League for Democracy party sweeping 80 per cent of the contested seats at last year’s election, the country’s first openly contested one in 25 years.
Many of her fellow party members say they are disappointed at the news.
(Translated) “Aung San Suu Kyi was born and lives here. She is the daughter of our hero, Aung San. Why shouldn’t she be president? We need to work to change the law that stops such a person becoming the president, with the support of the people.”
Myanmar’s constitution bars Ms Suu Kyi from the presidency with a clause that disqualifies anyone whose spouse or children have foreign passports.
Her two children are British.
Many believe the clause was drafted specifically to target the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who spent years in prison for opposing the country’s former military rulers.
But Ms Suu Kyi is still likely to rule the country by proxy.
Her party has circumvented the restriction by nominating her close friend and confidant Htin Kyaw, expected to follow her instructions in running the country.
Htin Kyaw is the clear favourite to win the presidency, with the backing of the ruling party.
National League for Democracy politician Pike Ko says the proxy arrangement is good enough, for now.
(Translated)”The meaning of politics is to be patient, so I’m not angry about Aung San Suu Kyi and the presidency. The thing about her is that, even though she won’t be president, she will still lead the country, either from within the government or from within the party.”
Ms Suu Kyi’s supporters had hoped for a last-minute deal that would allow her to take the presidency.
She had been meeting with the military’s commander-in-chief, trying to strike a deal where parliament would suspend the part of the constitution that locks her out of the presidency.
But the military, which still controls 25 per cent of the seats in parliament by law, may have asked for additional powers in return.
For one reason or another, no such deal materialised.
Some in the party, like Myo Aung, say they have not given up hope for a Suu Kyi presidency in the future.
(Translated) “I feel the same as everyone about the fact that Suu Kyi cannot become president. She is the true leader chosen by people. We still need to work on that.”
Senior military figures have declined to comment on whether they are satisfied with the proxy arrangement.