An executive for a nonprofit charity who is believed to be a confidant of Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi is favored as one of the presidential candidates shortlisted by the ruling party after the democracy icon was barred on constitutional grounds.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) is due to submit the names to parliament on Thursday, and a source told the Myanmar Times that Htin Kyaw, a 70-year-old Oxford graduate, is "high on the list."
Htin Kyaw is believed to be one of Suu Kyi's trusted right-hand men who has built a reputation within the NLD for honesty, according to the report.
Born as Dala Ban, Htin Kyaw is the son of Min Thuwun, one of Burma’s national poets who in the 1990s was an elected official of the NLD. His father-in-law, U Lwin, is one of the party's founding members.
His wife, Su Su Lwin, also of NLD, won a seat in the lower house of parliament and has been recently appointed as head of the chamber’s international relations committee. Htin Kyaw is also a writer who in 2009 published a book about his father.
Currently, Htin Kyaw is a senior executive with the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, an education charity group named after Suu Kyi's mother, the report said.
The NLD swept the elections in November last year, but party leader Suu Kyi has been barred to stand for presidency based on a constitutional clause that bars elected officials with foreign spouses or children from the highest office of the land. Suu Kyi's two sons hold British passports, as did her late husband.
Efforts to skirt the technicality appeared to have been abandoned following unsuccessful talks with the unrelenting junta. Suu Kyi may take the post of foreign minister with the NLD set to submit a list of proxies to break the impasse, rather than angering the military rulers and sparking a constitutional crisis, sources earlier said.
Being a foreign minister would nonetheless also allow Suu Kyi to attend meetings of the military-controlled National Defense and Security Council, a powerful organ of government that has the authority to declare a state of emergency.
Suu Kyi intends to continue talks with the junta at a later date for the purpose of amending the constitution to allow her to assume the presidency, the Asian Correspondent quoted sources as saying last week.
The parliament, now dominated by Suu Kyi’s NLD after elections last November, agreed to speed up the date of the presidential election to March 10. Suu Kyi's NLD secured some 80 percent of elected seats in parliament, which chooses the president.
With the set up envisioned by the NLD, Suu Kyi is now primed to share power with the junta, which retains control over a large chunk of the country's administration. The junta also has a constitutional veto and is guaranteed a quarter of the seats in parliament.
Apart from Htin Kyaw, the list would include Myo Aung, a 65-year-old ex-army doctor, reports said. A simple transfer of power ceremony will take place on March 30.