Naypyidaw, Myanmar (AFP)- Myanmar’s parliament Thursday dealt a decisive blow to Aung San Suu Kyi’s hopes for changing the junta-era constitution that bars her from the presidency ahead of landmark elections, voting down a bill that would have ended the military’s effective veto on charter change.

The vote, held after three days of energetic debate between uniformed soldiers and elected MPs, saw parliament shoot down a draft amendment that would have chipped away at the military’s political stranglehold.

The amendment bill was “not enacted”, parliament speaker Shwe Mann told the legislature after the 388 votes in favour of change fell below the threshold of 75 percent of all lawmakers needed for it to pass.

Myanmar’s parliament continues to be dominated by the army and former generals despite dramatic reforms since the end of outright junta rule in 2011 and observers say the military is extremely reluctant to see any further reduction in its powers.

Suu Kyi this week said “genuine change” in Myanmar was dependant on constitutional change, as she ramped up her rhetoric in a bid to swing the vote before elections slated for October or November.

The key clause under consideration was 436, which calls for a 75 percent majority in votes on major constitutional changes, ensuring that unelected soldiers have the final say.
Despite the expectation that the bill would not pass, the legislature fell into silence as the results were announced, with several other proposed amendments voted down. (BBC)