Speculation mounts over military presidential candidate

Speculation mounts over military presidential candidate

The influential former military lieutenant-general widely tipped to be the military’s presidential candidate has declined to comment on the speculation, in a statement to media on Tuesday.

Thet Swe, a Union Solidarity and Development Party MP in the lower house, told media outside a chambers session that no offer had been made.

“It’s not nice to comment on speculation like this. There has been no such offer, so I will not respond,” said Thet Swe.

Hla Htay Win, a former military man and current USDP member, is also being tipped as a possible candidate. The retired Burmese army general won the seat of Zayar Thiri, Nappyidaw, in the 2015 election.

The military is constitutionally entitled to submit a candidate for the presidency, with a further two candidates submitted by the upper and lower houses respectively. The Presidential College is then tasked with electing a president – the remaining two nominees will then be appointed as vice-presidents.

Thet Swe secured victory in the lower house seat of the remote Coco Islands. The race for the isolated seat was controversial, with the NLD and other parties claiming they had been barred from campaigning on the islands – an archipelago off Burma’s west coast and the country’s smallest parliamentary constituency.

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Parliamentarians have until 10 March to nominate the three candidates, a full week earlier than expected. The incoming National League for Democracy will begin a 5 year term of government on 1 April – marking the start of Burma’s second parliament.

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