Myanmar: Suu Kyi names Htin Kyaw as NLD candidate in historic presidential poll

Suu Kyi's failure to reach a compromise with the junta on presidential candidate puts Myanmar on tenterhooks as election process starts.

Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has nominated Htin Kyaw, a trusted lieutenant and ethnic Chin representative, as the NLD's candidate in the presidential election.

Myanmar's newly elected parliament started the proceedings on Thursday for the election of new president who will replace Thein Sein on April 1.

The country's landmark transition from rule under military junta to elected democracy follows the crushing victory registered by democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) in parliamentary elections.

The NLD won about 80 percent of the elected seats in election in November, giving it an overwhelming majority in the parliament an ensuring that its nominee will be elected president.

However, the junta-drafted constitution of 2008 proscribes Suu Kyi from becoming the president as her sons hold British citizenship.

The Nobel peace prize laureate made it clear she would still be in charge of the government, saying she will be "above the president".

Though Suu Kyi's candidate will win presidency singlehandedly, the NLD has been wary of a backlash from the army, which had put Suu Kyi in house arrest for 15 years after she won a parliamentary election in 1990.

Though Suu Kyi has tried to reach a compromise with the junta on presidential election, the efforts had reportedly failed, putting Myanmar on tenterhooks as the election process starts.

The election process

The first step in Myanmar's historic transition to democracy was the swearing-in of the members of parliament on February 1. The second most important date is Thursday, March 10, when three candidates will be nominated for presidency.

Under the constitution, the two houses of parliament will nominate one candidate each while the military, which reserves 25 percent of the seats in the parliament, will nominate the third one.

While the candidate who notches up the highest number of votes will become the president, the other two will become vice-presidents.

According to local media reports, former navy chief Thet Swe will most likely be the military's nominee.

However, Suu Kyi's choice of a presidential candidate was shrouded in secrecy with speculation suggesting her chief of staff, a close friend and even her personal physician were in contention.

Suu Kyi's close friend Htin Kyaw, who runs the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, however, came up as a potential presidential candidate in recent days.

Under Myanmar's constitution, the president does not necessarily have to be a member of parliament.

According to senior parliament officials, the voting in presidential election was not likely to take place before Monday.