Myanmar VP still waiting for approval: officials

Myanmar lawmakers are scrutinising the qualifications of a retired general nominated to become vice president, officials said Wednesday, amid uncertainty about whether he meets the rules.

Yangon chief minister Myint Swe was selected two weeks ago by the soldiers who hold one quarter of the seats in Myanmar's parliament to replace another hardline army vice president.

"We are examining his qualifications. We cannot give details yet," Htay Oo, the head of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and a member of an electoral college that will elect the vice president, told AFP.

Officials declined to comment on reports that Myint Swe's son-in-law is an Australian citizen, which under the constitution would appear to disqualify him from becoming a vice president.

The same provision is a barrier to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi taking a top leadership role in the country, and her party has vowed to campaign to completely redraw the charter, which was written by the former junta.

Myanmar's army is standing by its nominee, according to one of the military representatives.

"He's the only one we nominated. We haven't changed the name or person yet. The result will come out in the coming days," he said.

The nomination of a new vice president followed the announcement that the previous incumbent Tin Aung Myint Oo, a renowned hardliner closely linked to former junta chief Than Shwe, had retired because of health reasons.

Myint Swe, who is an MP for the army-backed ruling party in Yangon, is seen as a marginally more moderate figure than his predecessor, although he also has close links to Myanmar's former strongman.

Since taking office last year, Myanmar's President Thein Sein, also a former general, has overseen a series of dramatic reforms such as the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of Suu Kyi to parliament.

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