Burma, Constitutional Change and Article 59F


As reported by Lawi Weng in The Irrawaddy no changes are to be made to Burma’s constitution according to the ‘The Constitutional Review Joint Committee’ which would allow Aung San Suu Kyi to be President. The the now infamous Article 59F will not be changed:

‘The committee’s report recommended no change to Article 59F, which says a president may not have a spouse or children who are foreign nationals. Suu Kyi, who chairs the National League for Democracy (NLD), has two sons with British citizenship.’

There would also be no change in the number of seats set aside for the military:

‘There would be no change to an article that reserves 25 percent of seats in Parliament for the military, or to an article that requires approval from more than 75 percent of lawmakers for constitutional amendments.’

Article 59F reads:
‘(f) shall he himself [the President], one of the parents, the spouse, one of the legitimate children or their spouses not owe allegiance to a foreign power, not be subject of foreign power or citizen of a foreign country. They shall not be persons entitled to enjoy the rights and privileges of a subject of a foreign government or citizen of a foreign country.’
The ‘The Constitutional Review Joint Committee’ report states that ‘only 592 people wanted to amend the article that makes Suu Kyi ineligible for the presidency.’
The other article in the constitution which is causing unrest is article 59D. This states that the President:
‘(d) shall be well acquainted with the affairs of the Union such as political, administrative, economic and military.’

This is interpreted as meaning that the President would have had to have served in the Burmese army, the Tatamadaw, something that Aung San Suu Kyi clearly has not done.
This is the full 2008 Burmese constitution and this the English only version. The Irrawaddy article is here.

One thought on “Burma, Constitutional Change and Article 59F

  1. Pingback: U Wirathu on ammending the Burmese constitution | Dr Paul Fuller: Buddhist Studies

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