Aung San Suu Kyi confidante Htin Kyaw likely to become Myanmar's next leader

Presidential nominee Htin Kyaw, seen here in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Feb 1, 2016, is a longtime aide to party leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Story highlights

  • Ruling NLD party nominates Htin Kyaw to be Myanmar's new president
  • Historic elections in November ushered in new government, hope for change

Yangon, Myanmar (CNN)Myanmar's parliament, the Hluttaw, will soon choose a new president -- only the most obvious candidate can't even run.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who has led the majority National League for Democracy (NLD) for three decades, sometimes under house arrest, is barred from running for the country's highest office, thanks to an clause in the constitution -- drafted by the then-ruling military junta in 2008 -- that many think were put in place specifically to bar her from office.
    Nominated in her place is her close friend Htin Kyaw, who serves as an executive officer for the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charitable organization named after Suu Kyi's late mother. His father-in-law was also active in the establishment of the party.
    Suu Kyi has previously said that, despite being barred from running, she will be "above the president," essentially making Htin Kyaw a proxy.
    The constitution prevents anyone with children who are citizens of another country from becoming president. Both of Suu Kyi's adult sons are British citizens.
    The 69-year-old Htin Kyaw in one of Aung San Suu Kyi's closest confidantes, and was one of a handful of people allowed to visit her while she was under house arrest. He also studied alongside her in England and was close to her husband.
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    Other candidates nominated

    Both the Upper and Lower Houses of parliament, as well as the military, make nominations for vice-president, and one of the three will be picked as president. The remaining nominees both become vice-presidents.
    The Upper House have nominated Henry Van Thio, an ethnic Chin, while the military have put forward an Air Force candidate, Khin Aung Myint.
    The parliament will not vote on the three choices today, as it's in recess, and the candidates likely need to be vetted, to ensure they meet constitutional requirements -- including the nationality of their children.
    Given the NLD's huge majority, it seems highly likely that its candidate, Kyaw, will be successful.
    While the NLD has an absolute majority in both houses of the parliament, the military holds 25% of the seats, limiting the power of the ruling party to make changes to the constitution.

    Historic election

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    November's election was historic, not least because it marked the first poll since 1990 that Suu Kyi's party had contested, but also due to the size of the then-opposition NLD's win.
    The NLD was widely considered to have won the 1990 poll as well, but the military rulers annulled the results and placed Suu Kyi and many of her colleagues under arrest.
    The daughter of Aung San, a military officer who became known as the founding father of independent Burma (now officially known as Myanmar), Suu Kyi spent much of the next two decades under house arrest, becoming an internationally recognized symbol of democracy and the country's most popular politician.
    The changes ushered in under President Thein Sein since 2011 have helped reduce the country's international isolation, with Western sanctions being eased and foreign investment starting to ramp up.
    Human rights groups have warned more recently of a rise in politically motivated arrests as well as discrimination directed against the Muslim minority, notably the stateless Rohingya population.
    November's elections were the first freely held in the nation in 25 years. Suu Kyi herself was reelected to her seat in the Kawhmu constituency in Yangon.