Myanmar Military Block Aung San Suu Kyi'sPresidential Bid

Myanmar Military maintains veto power
Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends Myanmar's top six-party talks at the Presidential palace in Naypyitaw April 10, 2015. Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

A vote in Myanmar's parliament Friday failed to remove the military's power of veto, which continues to prevent opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president in elections likely to be held later this year.

After a three-day debate, the parliament rejected a bill which would remove the clause barring individuals with spouses or children holding foreign citizenship from vice-presidential and presidential office. The current constitutional clause blocks Nobel peace laureate Aung Suu Suu Kyi from running for president in elections later this year because her late husband and two sons are British citizens.

A parliamentary majority of 75% is required to alter Myanmar's constitution. The 2008 constitution, implemented under military rule, gives 25% of parliamentary seats to the military. A motion to lower the level of support needed to amend the constitution to 70% was also voted down.

490 votes were needed to pass the change to remove the military's veto, but only 388 were cast in favour, according to the BBC.

"I am not surprised with the result," Suu Kyi told the Associated Press after the vote. "This makes it very clear that the constitution can never be changed if the military representatives are opposed." She remained defiant saying: "The public will clearly understand who wants change and it will help the public to clearly decide who they should vote for in the election."

The National League of Democracy (NLD), led by Suu Kyi, dominated Myanmar's last free general elections in 1990. The results of these elections were ignored as Myanmar was controlled by Junta rule at the time and Suu Kyi was under house arrest.

Presidential elections are anticipated for November this year, although not election date has been set. Suu Kyi announced her intention to run for president in June 2013.

The only proposed alterations to the constitution passed today, according to Reuters, involved specific wording referring to presidential candidate's level of 'acquaintance' with various relevant issues as well as replacing the word 'military' with 'defence. These changes will now be voted on in a public referendum before being implemented.