Myanmar speaker Shwe Mann to run for president in 2015


US President Barack Obama (left) with Myanmar's President Thein Sein (right) during a meeting in Yangon on Nov. 19, 2012.



Myanmar's speaker of parliament, Shwe Mann, on Monday told Radio Free Asia he intends to run for president in 2015.

This means Mann could challenge longtime opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has also announced plans to stand.

"I will run for president because it is the key post to work for the betterment of the country and the people’s interest," Mann, who held a high-ranking post under the country's fomer military rulers, told RFA in Washington on Monday.

"If there were a position higher than or more important than the president, I would want that post," Mann said, adding: "I believe that if I became president, I could do more than the others to achieve unity among ethnic groups, national reconciliation, rule of law, regional stability, and peace."

A military junta ruled Myanmar, then called Burma, for decades before losing power in 2010, and the country is struggling to make the transition from that to more open governance. President Thein Sein's new leadership has been particularly challenged by outbreaks of religiously-fuelled violence. 

Mann's comments to RFA came days after making similar remarks to the Thailand-based paper The Irrawaddy. 

"I would like to," he said after being asked about a presidential run. 

Because the president is elected by parliament in Myanmar, much will be determined by parliamentary elections that same year, according to The Irrawaddy

It's also possible that President Thein Sein, who is in the same party as Shwe Mann, will try for a second term.