Constitution Signature Campaign Off to Strong Start in Rangoon

By San Yamin Aung 5 June 2014

RANGOON — More than 380,000 people in Rangoon have already signed a signature campaign to amend Burma’s Constitution, an NLD official says.

The countrywide signature campaign—organized by the opposition party along with the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, an activist group—is calling for amendments to Article 436, which gives the military an effective veto over constitutional reform. The campaign began last week on Tuesday and will last for two months.

“In Rangoon alone, we had 380,000 signatures as of Monday. And this is only the list from NLD offices in the districts and townships—more people have signed at 88 Generation offices and in the villages,” Myint Htay, chairman of the Rangoon branch of the NLD, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

He said government officials had not prevented anyone from adding their name to the campaign, but added that ward administrators and police officers were standing guard at some signature collection points and requesting copies of the signature lists.

Tin Htut Oo, chairman of the Mandalay branch of the NLD, said about 100,000 signatures were collected within one week in seven townships of Mandalay District.

“In one township, there are about 20 places to collect signatures. We have not counted all the lists, since the campaign is still going ahead,” he said.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, a well-known Burmese film director, has already added his name to the campaign. He told The Irrawaddy last week that the 2008 Constitution was designed by the former military government to benefit the military.

“To become a government of the people, by the people and for the people—for which many lives have been sacrificed—the Constitution must be amended. So I signed,” he said.

After the signature campaign ends on July 19, the NLD and the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society will review all entries before submitting them to Parliament’s Constitution Review Committee.