Parliament Committee Deals Blow to Suu Kyi’s Presidential Hopes

Parliament Committee Deals Blow to Suu Kyi’s Presidential Hopes


Aung San Suu Kyi looks out on the crowd during a constitutional reform rally in Sagaing Division in January. (Photo: Zarni Mann / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — The parliamentary committee guiding Burma’s constitutional amendment process has voted not to endorse changes to a controversial article that bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency, a committee member says.

The Constitutional Amendment Implementation Committee voted overwhelmingly to recommend retaining Article 59(F), the committee member from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday.

In a committee meeting on June 6, “only five members voted to amend it,” the USDP lawmaker said, adding that committee members from the military and the USDP persuaded others to reject any changes. “Since the majority of members voted not to amend it, the amendment of that article will not happen in this Parliament.”

Of the 31-member committee, seven members are unelected military representatives, while 14 represent the USDP. Only two members are from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, while eight represent other political parties.

The committee will submit its final recommendations to the Union Parliament, where votes will be cast on the proposed constitutional changes.

A controversial article

Article 59 (F) is one of the more controversial articles of the military-drafted 2008 Constitution. It states that the president may not be married to or have children who are foreign nationals. Suu Kyi’s sons from her marriage to the late academic Michael Aris are British.

In her push to change this article, the NLD chairwoman has received support not only from the public, but also from one of the most powerful people in Parliament, Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann, who leads the USDP and has himself expressed ambitions to become president.

“To have a free and fair election in 2015, I have to say we should amend Section 59F of the Constitution,” he told The Irrawaddy at a press conference in Naypyidaw last year.

The USDP’s central committee in December proposed an amendment that would make Suu Kyi eligible for the presidency if her sons adopted Burmese citizenship. Her sons have indicated they are not willing to give up British citizenship, and Suu Kyi has not pressed them to do so.

In addition to Article 59(F), Suu Kyi has focused increasingly in recent months on amending Article 436, which effectively gives the military a veto over amendments.

A member of the Constitutional Amendment Implementation Committee told The Irrawaddy last month that the committee had agreed to recommend amendments to this Article 436.

13 Responses to Parliament Committee Deals Blow to Suu Kyi’s Presidential Hopes

  1. Any constitution of the world is man made. So man can write and cancel. So what is that USDP party peoples do not want to amend this constitution just because they are cronies dominated parliament. No problem once 2015 election give full majority to NLD, by that time let us see the situation of 25% unelected army representative in parliament. Not necessary to wait up till that period, at the time of before reaching 2015, juts about few months the cloud may change abruptly. 100 percent sure military itself change due to pressure from US and international community.

  2. So if Burma would allow dual citizenship then they don’t have to change 59(f) in the constitution for Suu Kyi, since her kids (and her older brother) can apply for Burmese citizenship (they are not Rohingyas so it shouldn’t be a problem LOL)

  3. Burma should and must trash whole constitution drawn by army and re write new constitution base on democratic belief not on base on Buddism. If not Burma can never be a democratic country. People who are running the country and those behind the curtain want free help from foreign countries, but will not accept anyone whose spouses and children are not burmese.

  4. Surprise, surprise.

    When Min Aung Hlaing leaves the army to stand for the presidency as the USDP candidate, following in the footsteps of ASSK’s celebrated father, they will have completed the circle. And you know who will then be left with egg on their face.

    Belated desperate measures of ill- prepared mass action will lead to confrontation and a standoff to create the handy pretext for yet another round of brutal crackdown and bloodshed, now thoroughly ‘constitutional and legitimate’. Yet another defeat for the people, one personal ambition thwarted, and another quarter century of military domination. Foolish adventurism at the last minute will never secure victory for any jumped up ‘revolutionary’. This course of action is never suited to those who are by nature liberal doves.

    Who dares wins BUT chance favours the prepared mind. Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. An unfulfilled personal ambition for political office deserves no sympathy. Dragging the nation down again by grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory the second time around will be unforgivable.

  5. >>well>>she is on>> a higher plane>>

    >>you know why>>

    >>It is not the issue of her Presidency>>what she is driving home>>

    >>it is the issue of a >>whole crap>>screw up Constitution (2008)>>and this could be the issue>>

    >>>>one screw up constitution (1974) drafted by Gen Ne Win >>(to cement his own power base) >>was the culprit of national uprising (1988) (thousands killed)>>and now another screw up constitution (2008) drafted by Gen Than Shwe>> (to cement his own power base again)>> could be the culprit of “killing fields” similar to Pol Pot’s Cambodia>>and this is real>>no imagination>>
    >>anybody want to bet>>

  6. Executive Branch is controlled by regime. Hlutdaw is controlled by regime. Judicial Branch is controlled by regime. Every committee is controlled by regime. Regime tries to hold on to power because the regime knows that all of these regime’s people are criminals and they will surely be tried in the court and sent them to prisons as soon as found guilty. Therefore, we will not expect to see genuine democracy in the Union of Myanmar soon. However, Suu Kyi and 88GPOS have super majority support from the public and the fight has just begun. Lets see. People Vs Regime Showdown is coming soon.

  7. Suu Kyi can not depend on Parliament Committee. Pollitics is not to beg, but to take by hook or crook through popular Mass Movement in non violence means.

    Is it correct that before she entering by election there was an verbal agreement which was top prioty to amend the constitution section 59(f) so that she can be in top post in Burma ( Myanbmar )?. If so, why they are hesitating now and breaking the gentleman promise.

    Any way DASSK as the daughter of General Aung San has the right to become Preisdent of Burma ( Myanmar ) at any cost and to sit as Head of State she has the rignts to campaign through out Burma to get support for her rights. As she has popular support from the public, the undersireabl;e elements from various groups will try to create many problems and also try to assessinate her to protect their cronism, opportunism and benefits of interest.

    Therefore international community especially US and Western Powers should eye on Burmese Politics and provide security measures for ASSK
    at any cost.

  8. Regime will see millions of signature which demand to fix the nargis constitution. If regime ignores the voice of the public, it will be like plunging in the middle of wildfire to get burned to death. So, regime is digging it’s own grave by insulting the public. Arrogant regime must be taught serious lessons this time. We the people are well represented by Suu Kyi and 88GPOS. But regime represents its own power and greed.

  9. The AIDS virus infected in our society from military regime will be very difficult to contain. All infected persons do not want to take medication but enjoying to infect more and more people. Some monks are already infected with the virus and they help the regime to send the nation to grave. Everything regime is doing these days show that regime is pushing against Democracy.

  10. USDP political language is designed to make lies sound truthful, murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

  11. Rubbish bama military thugs’ Parliament from “unethical soldier disorder party”(USDP).

  12. Why bama fox than shwe does not and did not explain clearly why Burmese with foreigner’s husband and children are not trustworthy?
    Are those bama military thugs trustworthy for our country, Burma? Those thugs can and could not keep promise on panglong agreement, nationalised (free-lunch)all private own businesses, kills and rapes all ethnics, monks, own people and students, sell and sold all ethnics’ lands and resources to greedy China, Singapore and other Asia countries, implement nargic 2008 casual killing and raping right for bama military and corrupt psy wirathu and his followers. If wirathu makes a loud voice against fox , wirathu and all corrupted monks will be charged with corruption by fox very soon. Fox has nothing but fox has gun from China and Russia.

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