Asia Pacific / Politics

Myanmar charter plan kills chance of Suu Kyi becoming president


Myanmar’s joint house committee on constitutional amendment recommended in a report presented to parliament Wednesday that a clause be maintained in the charter effectively barring opposition party leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for the presidency.

The committee’s 116-page report to the Union Parliament proposes that lawmakers “keep as original” the much-criticized provisions of the charter, including those limiting the eligibility of a presidential candidate and granting the military a quarter of uncontested seats in both houses.

The constitution, adopted when the country was under military rule in 2008, bars a person from becoming a candidate for presidential selection by parliamentarians if his or her close relatives are foreign citizens.

Suu Kyi, 69, is the widow of a British academic and has two sons who are both British nationals.

In the course of discussions at the joint committee, the National League of Democracy, led by Suu Kyi, asked for a repeal of the eligibility rule in question but the demand was apparently pushed aside by the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, close to the military, which seems to want to maintain the status quo.

The charter’s guarantee of 25 percent of the seats to military appointees would help the military maintain crucial influence on the lawmaking body.

The committee’s report fell short of recommending a change in the article concerning the amendment procedure of the charter itself. It cited differing opinions provided by various political parties on the issue.

Lawmakers are expected to hold debate based on the report in both houses with NLD members expected to make their case against the proposals they see lacking necessary changes.

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