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Myanmar's leader supports constitutional amendment
ANGKOK - Myanmar's current chairman said on Thursday he supported the change in the country's constitution to allow "every citizen" to become chairman, apparently a hint at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate for democracies whose civilian aspirations have been frustrated by the army for years. In particular, the constitution, drafted by a late Myanmar Army Junior, prevents Myanmar's presidential and vice-presidential nominees from having intimate members of their families who "remain loyal to a strange power" - a rule many scholars say discourages the beloved Aung San Suu Kyi from holding on.
Both of her children and their UK spouse were originally from the UK and are living outside Myanmar, also known as Burma. However, any amendment to the constitution needs the backing of more than 75 per cent of the Members, and Mr Thein Sein's influence on the legislative is considered inferior. There is at least one strong opponent of the EU president who seems to have no interest in amending the constitution in favour of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Speeches by the US presidential leader come as the presidential nation begins to address the impasse surrounding Aung San Suu Kyi's possible candidature over the fate of the delicate democratic system that will emerge from a long reigning 2011 army june. Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi and her associates have said they are considering a 2015 election blackout if the bill that actually stops them from standing for the EU Council of Ministers is not amended.
Allowing it to run would be interpreted by some as a signal to the outside community, which has started to make strong investments in Myanmar that democracy is changing. Mr Thein Sein commented after the country's biggest party, the Union Solidarity and Development Part, presented a draft constitutional amendment table.
The top legislators of the political group, headed by high-ranking former militaries of the former regime, suggested a small amendment to the constitution's presidential qualifications: a candidate's children's spouse would not have to be a citizen of Burma. Derek Tonkin, a former UK official who chairs the Myanmar political monitoring network, said Aung San Suu Kyi's two boys, Kim and Alexander, were once citizens of Burma, but their civic status was withdrawn by the regime.
Mr Thein Sein did not make reference in his own speech to the majoritarian party's suggestions, so it was not clear whether he urged the political group to go further. Any constitutional amendments are subject to the consent of the country's still mighty army. Since an amendment to the constitution calls for more than 75 per cent parliamentary consent, the army, to which 25 per cent of votes are allocated, has an efficient lobby.
Aung San Suu Kyi, a former detained politician who was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her disregard of MPs, was excluded from the 1990 election because of foreign aid. She was elected to Parliament in April 2012 and won, an important landmark in Myanmar's transformation from junta to democrat.
Recently Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi, the subsidiary of the country's independent protagonist, has been criticised by foreign humanitarian groups for her failure to provide assistance to the country's prosecuted Islamic minorities. Their reputation has also been lost among Myanmar's other minorities, who have the feeling of neglecting their demands for greater self-government and making friends with their former prison guards, the warlords.
However, she is still very much in favour and her political group is generally regarded as the top candidate in the 2015 election. The Myanmar parliament is likely to consider a number of other constitutional changes in supplement to the change concerning the president's qualification. Union Solidarity and Development Parties suggested far-reaching actions to decentralise the management of the state.
Such changes would probably be well accepted by the country's minorities, who have long been committed to a more autonomous federation. were in Yangon, Myanmar. With the headline: