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Myanmar: Route for Suu Kyi to seek top office is voted down

by Our Foreign Desk

MYANMAR’S parliament voted yesterday against constitutional amendments that would have let opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi stand for president.

The vote following three days of debate also retained the military veto over constitutional amendments.

Suu Kyi’s party the National League for Democracy (NLD) is hoping to make gains in elections expected in November.

“I am not surprised with the result,” Ms Suu Kyi told reporters after the vote.

“This makes it very clear that the constitution can never be changed if the military representatives are opposed.”

Ms Suu Kyi, who was imprisoned for years for her political activity, is barred from serving as president under a rule in the 2008 constitution disqualifying candidates with foreign spouses or children.

She is the widow of the late British author Michael Aris, who tutored the children of the Bhutanese royal family for six years and wrote on Bhutanese and Tibetan history. Their two sons are also British citizens.

Ms Suu Kyi is the daughter of Myanmar independence leader Aung San, who also founded the country’s modern army and the now-banned Communist Party of Burma in the former British colony.

On Wednesday Brigadier General Tin Soe, one of 166 military appointees in parliament, told fellow MPs that if the head of state or his or her family members owed allegiance to foreign countries, the country would indirectly fall under foreign subjugation.

“Myanmar is in a democratic transition period,” he said. “It has not reached its maturity in democratic practices to ensure peace and security in the country.”

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