10 March, 2016
The longtime opposition leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, has apologized for not becoming the country's next president.
She posted a letter on social media to supporters Thursday. She apologized for "not fully fulfilling the people's desire."
Myanmar's parliament began the process of choosing a new president shortly after the posting.
Aung San Suu Kyi asked for continued support "to reach the goal peacefully." Political experts said this is a request for patience and a promise that she will become president one day.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a large majority seats in parliament in a general election last November. But Myanmar's constitution prevents the NLD leader from taking the presidential office because her sons are foreign citizens.
Later Thursday, the lower house of parliament, controlled by the NLD, chose party member Htin Kyaw as its nominee for vice president. Htin Kyaw is a close adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi.
The upper house, also controlled by the NLD, named Henry Van Hti Yu from Chin state as its nominee for vice president.
Twenty-five percent of the Parliament is saved for lawmakers from the military. They are named, not elected. Those members met outside of parliament to choose their nominee for vice president.
The Parliament chooses a president among three nominated vice presidents. The vote is expected to take place March 18. The two nominees not chosen as president will be vice presidents.
Party sources have told VOA that NLD lawmakers will be told to vote for Htin Kyaw as president.
NLD lawmaker Zin Mar Aung said Htin Kyaw would be a good choice for president even though he is not well known. The lawmaker noted that the nominee spent part of his career as a bureaucrat in two ministries.
She told VOA, "He is well experienced in how to run a bureaucratic mechanism. That's perfect."
The military ruled Myanmar for almost 50 years. In 2011, the government became partly civilian. The country held its first general election as a democracy last year. At that time, Aung San Suu Kyi said she would lead the government. She said she would be "above the president."
That almost guarantees Htin Kyaw will be considered a puppet president. NLD lawmakers say the situation is unavoidable because of the constitution. They say it prevents the public favorite from becoming the official leader.
"In that kind of situation, this scenario is the best one to move forward," declared lawmaker Zin Mar Aung.
The new government will take office on April 1.
I'm Caty Weaver.
VOA correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted his report for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
patience - n. the ability to wait for a long time without becoming annoyed or upset
bureaucrat – n. a person who is one of the people who run a government or big company and who does everything according to the rules of that government or company
puppet – n. a person or an organization that is controlled by another person or organization
scenario – n. a description of what could possibly happen