NLD Vows to Veto USDP and Military’s Bid to Impeach Speaker

By Htet Naing Zaw 29 May 2020

Naypyitaw —The National League for Democracy (NLD) said it will stand by Union Parliament Speaker U T Khun Myat, who faces calls for impeachment from military lawmakers and the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

An urgent proposal calling for the speaker’s impeachment signed by 110 lawmakers from the USDP, the military bloc and some ethnic parties was submitted to the Lower House on Thursday. It accuses U T Khun Myat, an independent parliamentarian, of violating the Constitution and failing to fulfill his duties on several occasions.

A proposal to remove a speaker or deputy speaker requires the support of 110 lawmakers or a quarter of Parliament.

To pass it requires the support of two-thirds of lawmakers in a secret ballot. The USDP and military appointees together hold around 32 percent of the seats, meaning U T Khun Myat will be able to retain his post if he is backed up by the NLD, which has a majority in the national legislature.

NLD central executive committee member U Aung Kyi Nyunt said: “We will stand by U T Khun Myat on this issue.”

U T Khun Myat is doing his best as the speaker of the Union Parliament and Lower House, said U Aung Kyi Nyunt.

“I think the move is just intended to damage the reputation of the speaker rather than really remove him. It is political manipulation,” he said.

USDP lawmaker U Sai Tun Sein, who submitted the impeachment proposal, admitted the proposal would fail but wanted it recorded in history.

“I don’t expect the proposal will succeed,” said the ethnic Shan lawmaker.

U T Khun Myat when he was deputy parliamentary speaker. Htet Naing Zaw / The Irrawaddy

U Sai Tun Sein said U T Khun Myat violated the Constitution and parliamentary law by allowing the NLD to submit an urgent proposal to form the Constitutional Amendment Committee while blocking a full parliamentary debate on charter amendment proposals submitted jointly by his party and military lawmakers.

Lower House lawmaker U Sai Tun Aye of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy called the effort to impeach U T Khun Myat a smear.

“It is difficult to say which side is right and which side is wrong. The proposal will fail when it is put to the vote. I think the proposal is dirty politics,” he said, adding that U T Khun Myat had performed well as speaker.

Lower House lawmaker Daw Phyu Phyu Thin of the NLD said the USDP’s argument was weak. “Our party will stand on the right side,” she said.

The parliament will debate the impeachment proposal next week.

U T Khun Myat, who was previously a people’s militia leader in Shan State’s Kutkai Township, contested the 2010 election for the USDP as an executive member in northern Shan State and secured a Lower House seat.

He retained his seat in the 2015 election and was elected deputy speaker. He resigned from the USDP’s central executive committee in 2017 and became the parliamentary speaker the following year with the majority support of the NLD when U Win Myint resigned as speaker to become president.

He was also a member of the 2008 Constitution drafting board and a member of the 2008 Constitutional Referendum Commission.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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