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Myanmar readying for puppet president

YANGON- Myanmar’s next president will be someone with a low profile who “obeys” Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, a senior member of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party told local media Thursday.

The party is set to take power from the military-backed regime next year following a landslide victory in the Nov. 8 general election, but its world-famous leader will not be allowed to become president because the constitution, drafted by the former junta, bars her from the position.

She has vowed to be “above” the president as a means of circumventing the clause, which says no one with foreign relatives can take the job and is believed to have been written with her two sons in mind.

Win Htein, a party stalwart and close advisor to Suu Kyi, told The Myanmar Times the announcement of the name of the president would “not be very soon,” adding that Suu Kyi’s choice was someone uncontroversial.

“I don’t think our president will be liked or not liked,” he told the newspaper.

Win Htein also quashed speculation that Shwe Mann, a former general from the ruling party and informal ally of Suu Kyi, might be a contender.

The parliamentary speaker had hoped to take the presidency in order to act as a bridge between Suu Kyi and the still-powerful military.

Widespread optimism following the overwhelming victory for the NLD has temporarily eclipsed the country’s ongoing human rights problems.

In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Win Htein bolstered the fears of many that the NLD would not end the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority, who are widely despised in Myanmar and live under apartheid-like conditions.

“We have other priorities,” he said.

The NLD is set to form a government around late March.