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Suu Kyi reveals presidential aspirations

Eyeing the presidency: Aung San Suu Kyi called for a military-drafted law to be amended to allow her to contest elections in 2015.

Eyeing the presidency: Aung San Suu Kyi called for a military-drafted law to be amended to allow her to contest elections in 2015. Photo: Bloomberg

Mynamar's opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has declared she wants to be her country's next president and called for a military-drafted law to be amended to allow her to contest elections in 2015.

“If I pretended that I didn't want to run for president I wouldn't be honest,” Ms Suu Kyi told delegates at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in the country's capital Naypyitaw.

"I want to be president and I am quite frank about it,” she said.

The comments increase pressure on Myanmar's quasi-civilian government to amend a law that blocks anyone whose spouses or children are foreigners from leading the country.

The law was enacted to target Ms Suu Kyi whose two sons and late husband Michael Aris are British.

Asked whether she believed the government would amend the law, Ms Suu Kyi told reporters attending the forum: “I don't believe in indulging in optimism. Changes have to come by endeavour. We are going to work for the constitution to be amended.”

Ms Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner and pro-democracy icon, is hugely popular among her ethnic group, the Burman, who comprise about two thirds of Myanmar's 60 million population and would be likely win an election in a landslide, analysts say.

She will be 70 when the elections are due.

Previously Ms Suu Kyi has avoided making an emphatic declaration of her intentions to run for the presidency.

Some factions in the military-based Union Solidarity and Development Party have indicated they would support changing the constitution to allow Ms Suu Kyi to contest the election despite the elections threaten their dominance in parliament.

While deeply despised by many of the country's military rulers in the past, Ms Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero Aung San, has recently refrained from any sharp criticism of the military.

Over the past year she has been accused of failing to stand-up for ethnic minorities in the country, particularly Rohingya Muslims in the country's western state of Rakhine where violence has killed more than 200 people and displaced more than 100,000.

The economic forum attended by 900 delegates has show-cased dramatic reforms underway in the country that was largely closed to the outside world during 50 years of often-brutal military rule.

President Thein Sein, a former military general who has overseen the reforms, told the forum his government is “working hard to move from military rule to democracy, to end the multiple armed conflicts that have ridden this nation since independence in 1948, and to reform the country away from centralised economy to one based on free markets.”

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