Suu Kyi terms ban on presidency as unacceptable

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2014 15:00 IST

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has termed the recent move by a parliamentary panel to continue with a ban that prevents her from becoming the country’s president as unacceptable.

Last week a parliamentary committee voted against changing a clause in the country’s constitution which debars anyone who has married a foreigner or has children holding foreign citizenship from holding Myanmar’s top post.

“It is unacceptable, democratically speaking, that one person should be targeted by an institutional constitution,” Suu Kyi said in Kathmandu on Monday while giving her first reaction to the move.

Only five of the 31-member committee, which had just two representatives from Suu Kyi’s party, voted to amend the clause. Most members of the committee were from President Thein Sein’s party.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner who had arrived in Nepal on Friday on a four day state visit was addressing journalists before departing.

“Whether or not I become president in the future depends on the will of the people,” she added.

Myanmar’s military rulers had introduced the clause in the new constitution in 2008 which prevents Suu Kyi from holding the president’s post.

Since her late husband, Michael Aris, was British and both her children hold British passports it was believed that the clause was included with the intention of keeping her away from the top post.

“I think the constitution was written with me in mind. I have often said that it’s a big compliment because I don’t think very many people have constitutions written on them,” Suu Kyi said.

The chairperson of National League for Democracy said that her party wants to change the provision in the constitution which gives the military right to veto any government amendment.

“We want to make it possible for majority of elected members of the legislature to change whichever part of the constitution they think necessary,” she said.

Suu Kyi, who was released from house arrest in 2010, and her party have been seeking major changes in the constitution ahead of next year’s election.

“The constitution itself says there should be no religious discrimination. The NLD has always been very strong about protecting rights, justice and equality,” she said in response to a question on violence against the minority Rohingya community.

The democracy icon has faced criticism for failure to speak against human rights abuses committed on Rohingya Muslims in the predominantly Buddhist country.

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