Burma

Myanmar Parliament to Vote on Proposed Constitutional Amendments Next Week

By San Yamin Aung 4 March 2020

YANGON—Myanmar’s Union Parliament will begin deciding whether to accept proposed changes to the undemocratic provisions of the Constitution on March 10, Speaker T Khun Myat announced on Wednesday.

The announcement was made on the sixth day of often-heated parliamentary debate over the constitutional amendment proposals.

Since Feb. 25, dozens of parliamentarians have been discussing amendment proposals submitted by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic parties, as well as those submitted by the unelected military lawmakers and their allied Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lawmakers.

During the discussions, the military appointees and USDP lawmakers have raised strong objections to the NLD and ethnic parties’ proposals, in particular those that seek to reduce the roles of the military and its commander-in-chief in politics.

While it is unknown how long the balloting will take, the vote will conclude a yearlong process, launched by the NLD in a bid to reform the military-drafted charter.

The military has rejected the NLD’s charter-reform process as “unconstitutional” from the outset.

Under the current Constitution, any proposed amendment requires the approval of more than 75 percent of lawmakers to pass. As 25 percent of lawmakers are appointed by the military, not a single amendment can pass without at least some support from military lawmakers.

While announcing the Parliament’s schedule for voting on the proposed constitutional amendments, Speaker T Khun Myat called on lawmakers to work together to finish the process successfully.

“I hope everyone will follow parliament’s laws and by-laws to finish the process successfully,” he said.

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