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Suu Kyi eyes presidency despite constitutional ban

AFP

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday that she wants to run in Burma's 2015 presidential election. Burma's constitution, however, bars anyone with spouses or children overseas from the office; Suu Kyi's two sons are British nationals.

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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday declared her intention to run for the presidency as she sets her sights on elections due to be held in 2015.

Addressing world leaders and heads of business at a major forum in the capital Naypyidaw, the Nobel Peace laureate called for the amendment of the military-drafted constitution which prevents her from leading the country.

"I want to run for president and I'm quite frank about it," the veteran democracy activist told delegates at the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

"If I pretended that I didn't want to be president I wouldn't be honest," she added.

A major hurdle to her presidential ambitions is the current constitution, which blocks anyone whose spouses or children are overseas citizens from leading the country.

Suu Kyi's two sons with her late husband Michael Aris are British and the clause is widely believed to be targeted at the Nobel laureate.

President Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government has surprised the world since coming to power two years ago with dramatic political and economic changes that have led to the lifting of most Western sanctions.

Hundreds of political prisoners have been freed, democracy champion Suu Kyi has been welcomed into a new parliament and tentative ceasefires have been reached in the country's multiple ethnic civil wars.

Suu Kyi, who was herself locked up by the former junta for a total of 15 years, remains hugely popular in Myanmar and her National League for Democracy party is widely expected to win the elections if they are free and fair.

(AFP)

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