USDP Backs Amendment Allowing Suu Kyi to Be President


2013-12-31
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assk-australia-nov-2013.jpg Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi walks through the gardens of Government House in Sydney, Nov. 27, 2013.
AFP

Myanmar’s military-backed ruling party has said it supports a constitutional amendment that could allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to become president if her British-born children receive Myanmar citizenship.  

The proposal was one among 73 floated amendments to the constitution the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) voted for at a party congress in Naypyidaw on Tuesday.

The current charter, written in 2008 under the country’s former military junta regime, bars Aung San Suu Kyi, a 68-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner and longtime pro-democracy campaigner, from the country’s top post on the grounds that her two sons hold U.K. citizenship.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party has long pushed for sweeping changes to the document, including the provision that prevents her from becoming president.

A parliamentary committee is currently reviewing proposals from the public and political parties for changes to the charter. 

'She would meet the requirements'

USDP lawmaker Hla Maung Shwe told RFA’s Myanmar Service that if the party’s proposed amendment were adopted, Aung San Suu Kyi would be eligible for the presidency.

Under the proposed amendment, “if these two sons take Myanmar citizenship, then she would meet the requirements for a presidential candidate as she herself is a Myanmar citizen,” he told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

The USDP voted in favor of changes to a total of 52 articles in the constitution, in addition to 21 articles it voted to eliminate entirely.

Myanmar’s ruling officials have mostly expressed support for constitutional amendments, but with elections coming up in 2015, some observers say the process so far has been slow.

The charter reserves a quarter of seats in parliament for the military and requires a three-quarters majority for a national referendum on proposed amendments.

Ethnic-based political parties in Myanmar and armed rebel groups negotiating cease-fire agreements with the government after decades of military conflict have called for amendments that allow ethnic groups and states greater autonomy.

Reported by Khin Khin Ei for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

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