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Myanmar review may boost Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi

– Myanmar’s parliament plans to review the 2008 military-drafted constitution, a move that may allow former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi to become president after elections in two years.

Shwe Mann, the speaker of parliament’s lower house and No. 3 in the former military junta, on Friday called for a commission to recommend changes to the constitution.

Suu Kyi, 67, is ineligible to become head of state because the constitution says the president and two vice presidents can’t have a child who is the citizen of a foreign country.

“They could as a gesture change part of the restriction on Suu Kyi,” said Derek Tonkin, former British ambassador to Thailand, Vietnam and Laos and chairman of Network Myanmar, which promotes reconciliation in the country, also known as Burma. “I find it very interesting because there’s no need for them to amend it at this particular point. Someone has taken the initiative and clearly it comes from the top.”

Suu Kyi has strengthened ties with the military since joining parliament last year as she pushes for a constitutional change that would allow her to lead the country of 64 million people.

President Thein Sein’s shift to democracy since 2010 elections held while Suu Kyi was detained prompted the U.S. and European Union to ease sanctions, attracting companies such as Google, General Electric and Norway’s Telenor.

Shwe Mann proposed that a commission of legal experts and experienced people review the constitution, according to a statement published on parliament’s website. He mentioned no specific clauses to be amended.

The review is not aimed at any one person and should include measures to produce peace with armed ethnic groups, according to Win Oo, a member of Thein Sein’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.

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