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Aung San Suu Kyi steps up efforts to change Myanmar Constitution before 2015 elections

Published on Jun 30, 2014 8:21 PM
 
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at the launch event for the State of the Tropics report, at Kandawgyi palace hotel in Yangon on June 29, 2014. Ms Suu Kyi is stepping up efforts to change a Constitution that bars her from the presidency and gives substantial political power to unelected military members of Parliament. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

YANGON (Reuters) - With elections looming next year, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is stepping up efforts to change a Constitution that bars her from the presidency and gives substantial political power to unelected military members of Parliament.

Ms Suu Kyi remains wildly popular at home, but is nonetheless unable to fulfil her wish to become president due to a constitutional clause written to exclude her from office. Now, she says, her priority is to change another clause that grants the military de-facto power over constitutional amendments.

The Constitution drafted under a former military regime sets aside 25 per cent of Parliamentary seats for the military and more than half of the rest are held by its allies in the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), many of them former officers.

Section 436 requires 75 per cent support for most amendments to the Constitution, which would currently need the support of most USDP and military MPs, an unlikely achievement for any proposal aiming at undercutting the military's role in politics. "If we don't change 436, it means that the military has virtual veto power over what can or cannot be changed within the Constitution," Ms Suu Kyi told Reuters on Sunday.

 
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