House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, calls on Burma to allow Aung San Suu Kyi to run for presidency
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Thursday 16 January 2014
John Bercow, House of Commons Speaker, has made a highly unusual intervention in a key foreign policy issue by appealing for Burma’s constitution to be amended to allow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to run in elections for the country’s presidency next year.
Mr Bercow, who has a long standing interest in Burma and visited it last summer, says in an Independent article that “if Burma is truly committed to democracy” it must remove a bar excluding individuals whose children are foreign citizens from the Presidency.
The adult children of Aung San Suu Kyi, who Mr Bercow says is the “the most popular politician in Burma“ are, like her late husband Michael Aris, British citizens. Mr Bercow says the present provision was almost certainly included in a deliberate attempt to block” her from running as President.
Mr Bercow says that in the last three years Burma has made “remarkable and welcome moves towards democracy” including lifting press censorship and freeing hundreds of political prisoners - among them Aung San Suu Kyi herself. But he says it is essential that a committee due to report on its review on the constitution later this month lifts the current rule.
Speakers rarely take positions on policy issues, domestic or foreign. But Mr Bercow says that “being in the business of democracy and having been actively interested in Burma for many years, I can stay silent no longer.”
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence results live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Y1 Teacher required for a So...
Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - FINANCIAL SERVICES - Senior...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Residential Conveyancer - Wiltshire We have a...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...