Myanmar’s parliament took the first step on Friday towards the possible amendment of the constitution which was drafted under a military regime and bars Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency.
The constitution, ratified after a rigged 2008 referendum and widely seen as undemocratic, disqualifies presidential and vice-presidential candidates whose spouses or children are citizens of a foreign country. Suu Kyi’s late husband, academic Michael Aris, was British, as are their two grown-up sons.
The constitution also reserves a quarter of parliamentary seats for military personnel chosen by the armed forces chief.
The review was proposed by Aye Myint and Thein Zaw, both former generals and senior members of the ruling, military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), said Ohn Kyaing, a member of Suu Kyi’s party. Military delegates also voted in favour of the proposal.
“They seem to have realised that it’s essential to amend the present constitution for the country to build genuine democracy,” Ohn Kyaing said.
The review could lead to changes that would make it possible for Suu Kyi to become president after a 2015 general election that the NLD is expected to win. It might also decide the future role and political scope of the military.