Myanmar Parliament Rejects Move to Oust House Speaker

By San Yamin Aung 1 June 2020

YANGON—The majority of lawmakers voted on Monday to defeat a bid by Myanmar’s military-backed former ruling party and military-appointed lawmakers’ to impeach the Parliament’s house speaker over his handling of the constitutional reform process.

A total of 243 members of the Lower House (62 percent of those in attendance) voted down the proposal by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and military appointees to remove Union Parliament Speaker U T Khun Myat. The accusation alleged that he violated the Constitution and parliamentary laws by favoring Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in its Charter reforms attempts, launched last year, and also on several other occasions.

Military-appointed lawmaker Lieutenant Colonel Myo Htet Win said that the speaker broke the law by allowing the National League for Democracy (NLD) to submit an urgent proposal to form the Constitutional Amendment Committee in January 2019 and by blocking full parliamentary debate on charter amendment proposals submitted by military lawmakers and the USDP.

“The head of the legislative body’s failure to abide by the law harms the Parliament’s image,” the lieutenant colonel said.

In addition to accusing the speaker of thwarting debate on their charter-amendment proposals, the USDP and military-appointed lawmakers also accused U T Khun Myat of misusing his power to deny some of their motions on Monday during debate over their impeachment proposal.

Lawmaker Brigadier General Win Moe said that the speaker committed an act of negligence and dishonesty by blocking motions that were important for the nation and its citizens.

“We were patiently forgiving his negligence,” he said, but added that it is time to remove the speaker from his position.

NLD lawmakers rejected the proposal to remove the speaker and stood by his actions and handling of the charter change process, saying he abided by the Constitution and the Parliament’s laws.

The impeachment proposal also drew strong objections from ethnic Kachin lawmakers who showed their support for the ethnic Kachin Speaker.

Lama Naw Aung of the Kachin State People’s Party said the USDP and the military appointees made the proposal knowing it would fail but hoped to record their accusations.

According to the laws and by-laws of Parliament, a proposal to remove the speaker or deputy speaker can be submitted once it has the support of 110 lawmakers, or a quarter of all lawmakers. To pass, however, it requires support from two-thirds of lawmakers in a secret ballot vote.

On Thursday vote, the proposal was backed by only 132 lawmakers (less than 34 percent).

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