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.
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.”
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...