Suu Kyi may be president if clause barring her is suspended

Former MP from Myanmar’s Union Solidarity and Development Party says Suu Kyi can lead country if constitutional clause barring her is repealed

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Myanmar's National League for Democracy party leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks to supporters after general elections in Yangon, Myanmar November 9, 2015.

A former Myanmarese deputy from the military-backed ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party said on Wednesday that a proposal can clear the way for Myanmar’s Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to serve as the president of the country.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy won the general election on November 8, taking 86 percent of the seats in the Assembly of the Union.

Aung Ko, who lost his seat in the last election, said that Suu Kyi can lead the country if the constitutional clause barring her is suspended.

He said the section 59(f) of the 2008 constitution can be suspended with the approval of at least 50 percent of the lawmakers.

"It is not necessary to change section 59(f) at the present to choose the NLD chair for the presidency, given the desire of the people and international community," he told to The Myanmar Times on Wednesday.

"We have to submit a proposal [to suspend the section] in the next parliament, and parliament will decide to do it if more than half of the MPs support the motion. Then we can elect her as president."

The section 59(f) says people who have foreign ties can not govern the country, referring Suu Kyi’s two sons with British historian, Michael Vaillancourt Aris.

Legal experts who are discussing the possible repelling of the clause say that the 2008 constitution, which was drafted by military may not allow such a move.  

It is also known that amendment of the constitution needs the approval of more than 75 percent of parliament as 25 percent of the seats are held by unelected military MPs.

Other members of the ruling party also disagree with the idea that the clause can be repealed.

Zaw Myint Pe, a former USDP executive member said that "I’ve heard about this but, in my opinion, it is impossible."

A legal adviser of NLD, Ko Ni, also said that a “temporary suspension” of the clause was “theoretically possible” with a parliamentary majority, however the main problem is whether the military would agree with it.  

Thus, Suu Kyi is organizing many meetings with military figures to gain support for the transfer of the country from a military regime to a democracy.

Suu Kyi held her latest meeting with Myanmar’s influential parliamentary speaker and former general Shwe Mann to in the capital Naypyidaw on Wednesday.

The pair agreed on a number of shared goals, including national reconciliation, peace and the smooth running of parliament during the country’s political transition.

Suu Kyi had also called Myanmar President Thein Sein to hold a meeting to discuss transfer of power peacefully to her party and the president replied in positively to her call, holding a meeting at his residence in Naypyitaw on December 2.

TRTWorld and agencies