3 Jan 2014

Suu Kyi could get wish to lead country

7:29 pm on 3 January 2014

Myanmar's president has indicated he would support changes making Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi eligible to lead the country.

The 68-year-old is ineligible for the top post because her two sons are British citizens. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has led a peaceful struggle against military dictatorship for two decades and in recent months has expressed her wish to become president.

Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: AFP

Thein Sein, a former top member of the army regime that ruled Myanmar for 49 years, has given his backing for amending a military drafted constitution, saying such a change could help national reconciliation, the ABC reports.

The 68-year-old said in a televised address to the nation that he does not support laws that bar anyone from becoming president.

His comments are the latest show of openness by a president who has surprised the world with an array of reforms that were unimaginable under the junta, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners, liberal investment laws, legalising protests and scrapping of media censorship.

Thein Sein has yet to declare whether or not he will retire from politics after the next election in 2015, or seek a second term. Other contenders include parliament speaker, Shwe Mann, 66, another key reformer who outranked him in the former junta.

According to Myanmar's constitution, the legislature, not the people, are responsible for choosing a president.

Three panels representing the lower house, the senate and lawmakers chosen by the military each nominate a presidential candidate. A vote of the bicameral parliament then takes place, where one of the three candidates is chosen as leader.