20 Feb 08
Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from running for election under the country’s new constitution because she had a foreign husband, Foreign Minister Nyan Win told his fellow Southeast Asian ministers yesterday.
Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said Nyan Win was clear on this position during a dinner cruise off the city-state’s waters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) foreign ministers.
“We did discuss that,” Yeo told reporters in response to a question on whether Aung San Suu Kyi would be allowed to run in the 2010 vote planned by Myanmar’s military rulers.
“He (Nyan Win) was quite clear that in the new constitution, a Myanmar citizen who has a foreign husband, who has children not citizens of Myanmar would be disqualified as was of the 1974 constitution.”
Meanwhile, in Yangon, Military-ruled Myanmar has completed drafting its proposed constitution, which the junta plans to bring before voters in a referendum in May, state media announced late yesterday.
The junta on February 9 unveiled its surprise plans for the referendum, which it says will set the stage for democratic elections in 2010, but critics charge the entire process will serve only to entrench military rule.
Aung Toe, the chief justice of Myanmar’s Supreme Court, announced in a statement read over state television that a special commission had completed the drafting of the charter.
All members signed the draft of the constitution,â€ said Aung Toe, who headed the drafting commission.
He indicated that the commission had not made many changes to the guidelines produced by the military’s National Convention, a body of 1,000 hand-picked delegates who spent 14 years in fitful meetings laying out principles for the charter.
It was impossible to tell what, if any changes, had been made to the National Convention’s guidelines which imposed stiff limits on the activities of political parties and effectively barred detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president.
Myanmar has had no constitution since 1988, when the current junta seized power by suppressing a pro-democracy uprising in a violent campaign believed to have left 3,000 dead.
The opposition National League for Democracy warned on Monday that in order to achieve democracy, Myanmar’s rulers must first respect the results of 1990 elections, won by Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.