Burma

Myanmar Parliament Approves Amendment to Constitution’s Language on State, Regional Minister Appointments

By San Yamin Aung 18 March 2020

YANGON—Among 19 proposed constitutional amendments put to a vote on Wednesday, a single proposal was approved, to remove language deemed unnecessary from the charter’s provision on appointing regional and state ministers. The proposed amendment—which received 591 votes in favor, accounting for 90.4 percent of lawmakers—brings to three the number of charter amendments approved after nearly two weeks of balloting.

The approved proposal removes a passage in a provision of the charter relating to the appointment of regional and state ministers that was deemed unnecessary. The passage stated that a regional or state minister could be appointed from among elected representatives or from among those who are not elected representatives, assuming they meet the other requirements.

It is the only change to the Constitution that was sought by lawmakers from the National League for Democracy as well as military-appointed MPs and those from the military-backed, former ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

The NLD had also sought to remove similarly unnecessary language from the Constitution’s provisions on the appointments of Union ministers, deputy Union ministers, the Union attorney-general and deputy attorney-general, and the Union auditor-general and deputy auditor-general. However, all of those NLD proposals were voted down on Tuesday, rejected by the USDP and military appointed lawmakers, who seem prepared to block all of the NLD-proposed amendments.

The Union Parliament began voting on constitutional amendments on March 10. So far, 107 proposals submitted by the NLD, and by the military with the USDP, have been voted on. All but three have failed to muster the required support of more than 75 percent of lawmakers.

The two other approved proposals called for changes to Burmese-language references to “disabled” and “elders”.

Note: This story was corrected on March 19, 2020; the original article erroneously stated that the constitutional provision that is to be amended refers to the appointment of state and regional chief ministers. It refers only to ministers.

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