Suu Kyi, 88 Students to Hold Constitutional Reform Rally in Mandalay

By Zarni Mann 30 April 2014

MANDALAY — National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi will travel to Mandalay next month to address a public rally together with the 88 Generation Students leaders in order to call for amendments to Burma’s Constitution, a NLD representative said on Wednesday.

“We do not have the exact date yet, but it will be in May. Preparations are under way to deliver a speech in Mandalay concerning the amendment of the Constitution,” said Nyan Win, an NLD spokesman.

It will be only the second visit by Aung San Suu Kyi to Burma’s second-biggest city since her release from house arrest in 2010.

Nyan Win said the 88 Generation Student movement will offer their support during the event. “The collaboration of 88 Generation Student is so encouraging and I believe many people will join the cause,” he said.

The hugely popular NLD leader teamed up with the 88 Generation Students, led by respected leaders such as Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, in February in order to begin a ‘people’s movement’ style campaign calling for amendments to Burma’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

Since November, Suu Kyi has been increasingly vocal in her calls for amendments to the charter and she has held regular rallies in towns across Burma in which she called for public support for the changes.

The Constitution is unpopular and considered undemocratic as it gives the military sweeping political powers, such as control over a quarter of Parliament, while it prevents Suu Kyi from holding the post of president because her sons are British nationals.

However, Burma’s ruling party—the Union Solidarity and Development Party comprising mostly members of the military junta—has indicated it’s not willing to consider Suu Kyi’s demands.

Jimmy, a public relation officer of 88 Generation Students, told The Irrawaddy that the planned event in Mandalay was agreed upon after a meeting with Suu Kyi on April 21.

“We’ve been working together with the NLD and Daw Suu since ’88 and this time we will work for the amendment of the Constitution as it is an important matter for the country,” he said. “We believe all of the citizen will join the cause in a peaceful manner and understand that the amendment of the Constitution is vital for national reconciliation.”

Jimmy said he could provide no further details of the event, adding that lists of participants and other plans would be announced early next week.