YANGON, Myanmar Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi said Thursday that if her opposition party wins historic polls this weekend she will take a post “above the president” to circumvent a constitutional ban that blocks her from the presidency.
In a wide-ranging news conference, the Nobel laureate said repeatedly that she has a plan which she declined to reveal that would allow her to lead the country from behind the scenes. Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency because her late husband was British and her two sons hold foreign passports.
The 70-year-old opposition leader looked relaxed as she fielded dozens of questions from reporters at her lakeside villa and expressed confidence that if her party wins the polls, as it is expected to, she will lead the next government.
“I will be above the president. It’s a very simple message,” Suu Kyi said without elaborating. Asked if her plan would violate the constitution she replied, “The constitution says nothing about being ‘above the president.’”
Sunday’s election has been touted as the freest and fairest poll in over two decades in Myanmar, which was ruled by a military junta for half a century until 2011.
The polls mark the first time since 1990 that Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party has contested elections. Her party won the 1990 election by a landslide but the military junta annulled the results and placed her under house arrest.
Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest and was finally released five years ago, just days after the 2011 elections that her party boycotted, saying it was neither free nor fair.
Suu Kyi on Thursday said she is concerned about the Election Commission’s failure to stop reported irregularities ahead of the vote.
“We have had complaints about the ways in which some parties and individuals have been breaking rules and regulations by the (Election Commission), but little action has been taken on the part of the commission.”
Among her concerns, Suu Kyi said that advance voting had already started in some parts of the country, contrary to the commission’s rules.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party is expected to do well in the election, although it remains unclear who would become president if her opposition party wins.
Before the military ceded power, the junta drafted a constitution that bars anyone with a foreign spouse or children from holding the office of president or vice-president. It was widely seen as custom-tailored for Suu Kyi, whom the junta regarded for years as the greatest threat to their power.