Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s opposition leader, has said she plans to lead the country if her party triumphs in forthcoming parliamentary elections despite a ban on her serving as president, indicating there will be a fierce post-poll battle with the country’s entrenched military rulers. Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is expected to win the polls, but Aung San Suu Kyi, who received the Nobel peace prize in 1991, is barred from the presidency due to a constitutional provision that excludes those with foreign children from the office. Her late husband was British and she has two British sons and the clause was specifically aimed at denying her the post. “If the NLD wins the elections and we form a government, I am going to be the leader of that government whether or not I am the president. Why not?” she said in an interview with prominent Indian journalist Karan Thapar to be broadcast by the India Today TV network on wednesday. “Do you have to be president in order to lead a country?”
Aung San Suu Kyi said “the constitution will have to change to allow civilian authorities to have the necessary democratic authority over the armed forces” – a direct challenge to the powerful military.
“I am sure they won’t like it. I don’t expect them to like it,” she said. “But I do believe there are many members of the army who want what is best for the country and if we can agree with one another what would be best for the country then we can come to the arrangement.”
The 8 November election is for seats in both houses of parliament for five-year terms. About 30 million people are eligible to vote, and 90 parties are contesting it. The military, however, is guaranteed a quarter of the seats under the constitution it drafted.