• Mon
  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 8:45pm
NewsAsia
MYANMAR

Aung San Suu Kyi's hopes of Myanmar presidency suffer blow

Committee votes not to amend clause barring Nobel laureate from post

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 4:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 6:20am

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's hopes of becoming Myanmar's president next year have been dealt a blow, with a parliamentary committee voting not to change a constitutional clause that bars her from the post.

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, two of the panel members said yesterday.

The two sources declined to be identified and did not say why the proposal was rejected by 26 of the 31 panellists.

Experts believe the clause 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.

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. Most lawmakers on the panel are from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which was created from a social movement set up by the former junta.

A vote in the bicameral legislature to change the constitution to allow Suu Kyi to become president is still possible, although political analysts say it is unlikely it would be passed because the military and its USDP allies dominate parliament.

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