Burma’s Constitutional Review to Stay Confidential Until Next Year

By Reform, Tha Lun Zaung Htet 28 August 2013

RANGOON — Burma’s Union Parliament approved on Tuesday a four-month timetable to review the country’s controversial Constitution, which was drafted in 2008 by the former military regime.

Led by the deputy speaker of Union Parliament, the Constitutional Review Joint Committee will divide itself into small groups to review particular section of the Constitution.

The joint committee will consider the country’s historical background as well as current political, economic and social realities, the political maturity of the people, the national reconciliation process, rule of law and stability, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

The committee’s findings will be submitted to the Union Parliament by Dec. 31, but the review will be kept confidential until then, the statement said.

Committee members will be exempt from legal punitive actions during the review if they criticize the Constitution, which is currently illegal in Burma.

Dr Zaw Myint Maung, a lawmaker from the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), told The Irrawaddy that his party would submit to the committee a list of provisions that it would like to amend.

Amending the Constitution has been an objective of NLD lawmakers since they were elected to Parliament in by-elections last year.

“There will surely be discussions during the committee meeting,” Zaw Myint Maung told the Irrawaddy. “What we will achieve will depend on those discussions.”

The Constitutional Review Joint Committee is made up of 109 members, including 52 lawmakers from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), 25 army representatives, seven lawmakers from the NLD and others lawmakers from ethnic political parties.