Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday she would be "above the president" if her party wins in the Nov. 8 elections, defying a constitutional provision barring her from being head of state.
The general election is the first since a quasi-civilian government took power in 2011 after nearly 50 years of a military dictatorship and is widely regarded as a referendum on Myanmar's reform process.
In a wide-ranging news conference Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said repeatedly that she has a plan, which she declined to reveal, that would allow her to lead the country from behind the scenes. She is barred from the presidency because the constitution prohibits people with a foreign spouse or children from holding the office; her late husband was British, and their two sons hold British passports.
She expressed confidence that if her party wins at the polls, as it is expected to, she will lead the next government.
"I will be above the president. It's a very simple message," Suu Kyi said without elaborating. Asked if her plan would violate the constitution she replied, "The constitution says nothing about being 'above the president."'
The polls are the first time since 1990 that Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party has contested elections. Her party won the 1990 elections by a landslide, but the military junta annulled the results and placed her under house arrest.
Suu Kyi spent 15 years under house arrest and was released five years ago, just days after the 2011 elections that her party boycotted, saying they were neither free nor fair.