By Joshua Carroll
Myanmar’s presidential office has denied reports that Thein Sein has decided not to run for a second term in an upcoming historic general election that will test the country's transition from decades of military dictatorship.
The denial Tuesday from President's Office Director Zaw Htay adds to increasing confusion about the ambitions of the reformist president.
Some media had reported Monday that Thein Sein would not contest his constituency in the Nov. 8 poll due to poor health.
However, under Myanmar's constitution the president does not have to be an MP and is chosen by an electoral college.
"The president is quite healthy," Zaw Htay told the Irrawaddy news website Tuesday. “It is not true, as some media have reported, that he could not run for a second term because of poor health.”
He added that Thein Sein would decide whether to run for a second term "based on our country’s political situation," according to the website.
It is not the first time Thein Sein, a former general who has been widely praised by western nations for his role in democratic reforms, has challenged reports that he will not seek a second term.
In late 2013 Shwe Mann, a senior member of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, had announced that Thein Sein had ruled out running again.
The latest denial has fuelled speculation about a split within the ruling party.
Thein Sein recently told Japanese media that he may run after the November poll. "Our president has already spoken about it," said Zaw Htay on Tuesday.
The opposition National League for Democracy party announced Saturday that it would run in the polls, ending months of speculation about whether the party led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi may boycott the vote to protest the controversial military-drafted constitution.
Myanmar's military is guaranteed a quarter of all seats under the charter and Suu Kyi is barred from bring president because she has two foreign sons.