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Burma’s Leader Would Accept a Suu Kyi Presidency

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Created: September 30, 2012 Last Updated: October 1, 2012
Related articles: World » South Asia
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Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (second from left) arrives at the lower house of Parliament in Naypyidaw on July 11. (Soe Than WIN/AFP/GettyImages)

Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (second from left) arrives at the lower house of Parliament in Naypyidaw on July 11. (Soe Than WIN/AFP/GettyImages)

Burma’s President Thein Sein said over the weekend that if opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi were elected president in 2015, he would accept it.

Thein Sein told the BBC in an interview Saturday: “Whether she will become a leader of the nation depends on the will of the people.”

“If the people accept her, then I will have to accept her,” he said, referring to Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, who was elected to parliament earlier this year in the country’s historic by-elections.

“There isn’t any problem between me and Aung San Suu Kyi. We are working together,” he added.

However, the current constitution prevents Suu Kyi and other politicians who have close relatives living in foreign countries from being president.

“I alone cannot change the constitution. This depends on the wish of the people and also the wishes of the members of parliament,” he told the broadcaster.

Thein Sein, a former general in the country’s long-ruling military junta that ceded power to a civilian government, said the army would still play a driving role in Burma’s political situation. The army still holds many seats in parliament.

“The constitution clearly defines the responsibility of the military and every sector of the parliament. We cannot exclude the army from politics,” Sein said.

The former junta, which ruled Burma for decades and renamed it Myanmar, kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 years and denounced her.

Last week, the United States announced it would ease a ban on Burma-made products in recognition of reforms undertaken by the Southeast Asian country.

Burma has released hundreds of political prisoners, allowed the opposition to run in elections, and eased media and Internet censorship, but human rights groups and Thein Sein himself have admitted that much still needs to be done.

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