Aung San Suu Kyi's presidential ambitions dim as constitution change blocked in Burma
Committee keeps six-year-old clause blocking anyone who has been married to a foreigner or has children of foreign citizenship
The ambition of Aung San Suu Kyi to become Burma’s next president has been dealt a severe set-back after a committee voted not to change the country’s constitution which currently prevents her from holding the position.
Reports said only five members of the 31-member panel voted to change a clause in the constitution that says anyone who has been married to a foreigner or has children of foreign citizenship, cannot hold the nation’s top job.
The clause was introduced as part of a new constitution in 2008 by the military junta that then ran Burma in an attempt to ensure the democracy leader could not become president. Her late husband, the scholar Michael Aris, was British and her two children have foreign citizenship.
“Only five of the 31 committee members voted in favour of amending the section at the closed door meeting of the committee,” an unidentified member of the committee told the Reuters news agency.
Since she was released from years of house arrest at the end of 2010, Ms Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party have been pushing for constitutional change ahead of next year's election. In 2012, her party secured 43 seats in a series of by-elections. The 68-year-old Nobel laureate is currently on a four-day visit to Nepal, her first since she briefly taught there four decades ago.
The committee set up to look into the issue was mainly made up of members of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) of President Thein Sein. Over the past three years, the president has been overseeing a transformation of the country towards greater democracy and most of a long list of sanctions imposed by the West have been suspended. The NLD only had two members on the committee.
It is possible the parliament, which contains a 25 per cent block of appointed former military officers, could yet vote to scrap article 59(F), which bars Ms Suu Kyi from Burma’s top position. Her party has pointed out that the committee’s recommendation is not binding and that parliament could still take a different decision.
“We can’t say Aung San Suu Kyi has no chance of becoming the president until the union parliament approves it,” said NLD spokesman Nyan Win. “We need to wait till the committee submits its final suggestions at the parliament.”
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...
£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...
£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...