Reformist ex-general eyes Myanmar presidency

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YANGON: Myanmar’s influential parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann has announced he will run for president in the fast reforming nation in 2015 polls, according to a report, joining opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the only declared candidates so far.

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Former Gen. Shwe Mann, a key architect of reforms since the end of the junta in 2011, has long been tipped for a tilt at the nation’s top office—currently held by Thein Sein.

“I will run for president because it is the key post to work for the betterment of the country and the people’s interest,” he told Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Myanmar service during a visit to Washington on Monday, according to a report on their website.

“If there were a position higher than or more important than the president, I would want that post,” the ambitious lower house speaker said.

Incumbent Thein Sein is yet to indicate if he will stand in the 2015 polls, anticipated be a milestone in Myanmar’s transformation from an authoritarian nation to democracy.

Suu Kyi last week said she would run for president, although the existing military-drafted constitution bars her from the office.

“I want to run for president and I’m quite frank about it,” the veteran democracy activist told delegates at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in the capital Naypyidaw.

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