Suu Kyi aiming to be “above the president” if party wins elections


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi reiterated Thursday that she would rule the country if her National League for Democracy (NLD) wins the November 8 election.

Under the current constitution put in place by the military, Suu Kyi is forbidden from becoming president because her two sons are foreigners. They are British citizens.

“If the NLD wins the election, I will run the government,” Suu Kyi told reporters outside her residence, where she spent nearly two decades under house arrest during military rule.

“We have a candidate that is ready to become the president … I will be above the president.”

Cutting a relaxed and confident figure, she said that nothing in the constitution prohibits someone from being “above the president.”

Sunday’s election will mark the first time since 1990 that the NLD has contested elections. The party boycotted the election in 2010, effectively handing victory to the army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

The Nobel Peace Prize winner also raised questions about the current electoral process. “Already the election process is proving to be less than free and fair,” she said.

“I’m concerned about the extent to which the authorities and those connected to the USDP would try to go to win the elections,” Suu Kyi said.

“We have information about advance voting being carried out in an illegal way. I am very concerned,” she said.

The NLD lodged a complaint Thursday with the country’s election commission alleging that President Thein Sein had been campaigning for the ruling USDP. The country’s laws prohibit leaders in top office from weighing in on behalf of their own party.

Responding to Suu Kyi’s comments, the USDP responded there was “no way she can lead the government.”

“She should show the country’s constitution some respect, whether she likes it or not,” Htay Oo, vice-chairman of the USDP, told dpa.

“Is she dreaming of having a puppet president?”

Htay Oo added that it would be impossible for the NLD to form a government without coalition partners, noting that the possibility of a landslide victory was “impossible.”

At the earlier press conference, Suu Kyi avoided directly answering questions about the country’s ongoing Rohingya crisis, a situation that some rights groups have called a genocide.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority who say they are persecuted by the Buddhist majority.

The Rohingya have been confined to internment camps, are limited to two children by law, and are forbidden freedom of movement.

“We must not exaggerate the situation,” Suu Kyi said. “However if the NLD wins the elections, I promise that everyone living inside this country will have their human rights respected.”

“We must also remember that some of the boat people are from Bangladesh,” she said.

Rohingya are not eligible for citizenship in Myanmar, which considers them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and does not officially recognize the term Rohingya for the community.