Suu Kyi Launches Signature Campaign for Amendments

By Kyaw Phyo Tha 27 May 2014

RANGOON — On the first day of a nationwide signature campaign organized by Burma’s main opposition party and a prominent activist group, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi signed her name to the petition at one of her party’s offices in Naypyidaw.

At 8:30 am, Suu Kyi arrived at the National League for Democracy (NLD) office in Ottara Thiri Township, where she spoke with nearly 3,000 supporters after signing the petition, said Min Thu, an NLD lawmaker from the township.

“She signed at the Ottara Thiri office because she lives in that township when she’s in Naypyidaw,” the MP told The Irrawaddy.

He said Suu Kyi visited each NLD office of Naypyidaw’s five townships, spending nearly 30 minutes at each. She thanked visitors who came to sign the petition and explained why she believes the Constitution should be amended.

The signature campaign is organized by the NLD and the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society and will last for two months. It follows two public rallies by both groups in Rangoon and Mandalay last week to show public support for constitutional amendments. Any Burmese citizen who is 18 years or older can sign at the offices of either group across the country.

During a nearly 10-minute speech on Tuesday morning, Suu Kyi explained why the NLD and the 88 Generation are focusing specifically on amending Article 436 of the Constitution.

“It says that if we don’t have approval from army representatives in Parliament, we can’t make any change to the charter,” she said. “So, please sign to make change. I’m asking you to join us because we want to introduce a peaceful tradition that can bring change.”

In Rangoon, the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society also held a petition launching ceremony, joined by hundreds of people including politicians from ethnic parties.

“It’s an open invitation to anyone to take part in the amendment of the charter,” Ko Ko Gyi, a leader of the group, told The Irrawaddy.

After the signature campaign ends on July 19, the NLD and the 88 Generation will review all entries before submitting them to Parliament’s Constitution Review Committee. The numbers of participants will not be publicized until the review process is finished.