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Myanmar’s next president to be revealed on March 17

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The names of Myanmar’s next president and two vice presidents will be revealed on March 17, an official said today, setting a clear timeline for the transition of power from a military-controlled government to democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s party.

Parliament chairman Mann Win Khaing Than announced that the upper house, the lower House and the military will have to select one candidate each for the three posts before March 17, and submit them to parliament on that day.

While Suu Kyi herself is barred from becoming president, there are growing signs that her talks with the military to remove a constitutional hurdle blocking her path can be completed by March 17.

Once the three names are put before the 664-member parliament, all members will take a vote. The person with the largest number of votes will become president, and the other two will be vice presidents. It isn’t clear when the vote will take place, but the current president’s term ends March 31 and the successor must take office April 1.

Given that Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party has a majority in both houses of parliament, it is certain to get the president’s post and one of the vice presidential positions.

The NLD won a landslide victory in the November 8 general elections. But Suu Kyi has been stymied by the Constitution’s Article 59 (f), which says anyone with a foreign spouse or children cannot hold the executive office. Suu Kyi’s late husband was British as are her two sons.

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