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Aung San Suu Kyi Will Not Be Myanmar's Next President

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Myanmar, the famed opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is a hero to many people. She was held under house arrest for years, but fought on. Four months ago, her party won a landslide election victory, and now the party has nominated two candidates for president. Her supporters wish she would take the job herself. Here's NPR's Anthony Kuhn.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: The front runner of the two candidates is 70-year-old Htin Kyaw. He's a close ally of Suu Kyi's and, like her, an Oxford graduate and former political prisoner. Sean Turnell, a Myanmar expert at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, describes Htin Kyaw as calm and urbane.

SEAN TURNELL: I think he's an excellent choice. He's one of those people who basically just has the air of a president, and I think he would actually fulfill that role for almost any country.

KUHN: Speaking ahead of the November elections, Aung San Suu Kyi made it clear that the next president will basically be her proxy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AUNG SAN SUU KYI: I will be above the president. It's a very simple message.

KUHN: Myanmar's military-drafted constitution bars her from being president because her sons are foreign citizens. Turnell says Suu Kyi will essentially be sharing power with the military.

TURNELL: Burma's not free yet. It's in a process of moving towards something better, but it's not in that place of being a functioning democracy yet.

KUHN: Myanmar's parliament will vote on the candidates sometime this month, and the winner will take office on April 1. Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Beijing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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