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Aung San Suu Kyi Calls for Constituional Reforms During Stop in Australia

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has opened her first ever visit to Australia with a call for amending her country's constitution.

In a speech Wednesday at the Sydney Opera House, the opposition lawmaker used some of her strongest language yet to question the Burmese military's constitutional role.

She singled out the role of Armed Forces Chief Min Aung Hlaing.



"The commander-in-chief decides whether or not the constitution can be amended," she said. "How can you call a constitution democratic when it can be amended or not amended in accordance with one in an unelected post?"



The constitution also allows the top general to suspend it and take control of the country if he deems that step necessary.

Aung San Suu Kyi's party has been calling for constitutional amendments that would, among other things, reduce the role of the military and allow her to run for president in 2015.

The opposition lawmaker told reporters she hopes to use her five-day trip to Australia to explain what her party is doing to support democracy in Burma, which is shifting away from decades of harsh military rule.

In addition to her stop in Sydney, she will give a series of speeches during visits to Canberra and Melbourne later this week.



Aung San Suu Kyi spent much of the last two decades in detention under Burma's military rulers. She was released in 2010 by Burma's reformist government, and has since become a member of parliament.

She is believed to be seeking to run for president, although the current constitution prohibits her from doing so.

(This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.)

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