YANGON: Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s hopes of becoming Myanmar’s president next year have been dealt a blow as a parliamentary committee voted not to change a constitutional clause that bars her from the post, two of the panel members said yesterday.
The committee tasked with recommending amendments opted to retain the section that prevents anyone married to a foreigner or with children of foreign citizenship from becoming head of state. Most experts believe the clause, 59 (f), was written into the military-drafted 2008 constitution specifically to sideline Suu Kyi, who became a global icon for her fight against military rule, most of it from house arrest.
Her late husband was British, as are her two sons.
“Only five of the 31 committee members voted in favour of amending the section at the closed door meeting of the committee,” said a member who requested anonymity because the committee’s affairs are meant to be secret.
Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party have been pushing for constitutional change ahead of next year’s election, mainly to reduce the political clout of the military, which ruled Myanmar for 49 years until a nominally civilian government led by retired generals took office in 2011.
The committee picked to assess amendments has only two NLD members on it and is comprised mainly of lawmakers from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which was created from a social movement of a similar name set up by the former junta.
The USDP has 14 people on the panel and seven members are serving military officers appointed as lawmakers as part of a 25 percent legislative quota allocated to the armed forces, a clause the NLD, which suffered persecution by the former regime, wants to change. Reuters