Suu Kyi party expects new Myanmar constitution talks in days

Suu Kyi party expects new Myanmar constitution talks in days

YANGON: Aung San Suu Kyi's party said on Wednesday Myanmar is expected to hold high-level political talks within days aimed at amending a controversial junta-drafted constitution that bars the opposition leader from becoming president.

The summit - the second and potentially most important meeting of top officials since the end of army rule - was approved by parliament on Tuesday as Myanmar debates charter change ahead of crucial 2015 elections.

"We heard that they are going to meet on November 28," said Nyan Win, spokesman for Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, but was unable to confirm an exact schedule. "It's not just us - the whole country is watching this development with great interest," he said.

The six-party talks will include President Thein Sein, two parliament speakers, Suu Kyi, the army commander in chief and a representative from ethnic parties. Suu Kyi earlier welcomed the talks, which are a more streamlined version of unprecedented discussions held in late October between Myanmar's president, army chief and top political figures.

"I have no reason to refuse (to attend)," Suu Kyi told reporters on Tuesday after the parliament session, adding that the summit was a positive step.

The NLD gained five million signatures - around 10 percent of the population - earlier this year in support of its bid to change the constitutional provision that enshrines the military's effective veto on amendments.

But last week the party admitted that this veto meant it could not win parliamentary votes to change key aspects of the charter, as military representatives in parliament lined up to speak out against significant change.

Suu Kyi has solicited support from US President Barack Obama in her campaign to change the constitution, which she has described as "unjust" and written specifically to keep her out of power. The charter prohibits those with a foreign spouse or children from becoming president. Suu Kyi's late husband and two children are British.

Last week the country's powerful parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann said there would be a referendum on proposed amendments in May 2015, but ruled out enacting any significant changes before the November election. Parliament will select a president after the poll, which is seen as a key test of Myanmar's emergence from outright military rule, a process which began in 2011.

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