Charter Amendment Committee Starts Work

By Htet Naing Zaw 8 March 2019

NAYPYITAW — The parliamentary committee drafting amendments to the Constitution met on Thursday in Naypyitaw for the first time since it was established over two weeks ago and discussed the first 14 articles covering the basic principles of the Union.

Lawmakers for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and those appointed by the military, or Tatmadaw, who opposed the committee’s formation, showed up but did not join in the discussion.

Lawmakers “from the Tatmadaw and the USDP didn’t take part in the discussion, but they took notes on the discussion among the other parties,” U Aung Kyaw Zan of the Arakan National Party (ANP) told reporters.

The ANP proposed restructuring Myanmar’s regions and state in such a way that would help put the main ethnic groups on equal footing.

USDP lawmakers declined to be interviewed after the meeting. Military-appointed lawmakers spoke only to Myawady Television, the military-owned broadcaster.

“I am not authorized to reveal what was discussed at the meeting because it is graded classified information,” USDP lawmaker U Sai Kyaw Moe said.

Committee Secretary U Myat Nyana Soe said all the member parties except the Wa Democratic Party attended the meeting and participated actively.

The other parties in the committee are the ruling National League for Democracy and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Zomi Congress for Democracy, Pa-O National Organization, Palang National Party, Kokang Democracy and Unity Party, United National Democracy Party, Mon National Party, National Unity Party, Kachin State Democracy Party, and Lisu National Development Party.

There are a total of 48 clauses in the first 14 articles of the Constitution. Committee members declined to say what was said about Article 6 (f), which allows the military to “participate in the national political leadership of the state.”

Any amendment to the Constitution requires the approval of more than 75 percent of lawmakers in the Union Parliament, where the military controls 25 percent of the seats as per the Constitution.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.