Parliamentary Committee to Be Formed on Constitutional Amendments

By Tha Lun Zaung Htet 11 July 2013

RANGOON — Burma’s Parliament will form a committee to review the 2008 Constitution during the current legislative session, according to members of Parliament.

The 105-member committee will be made up of MPs from the 20 political parties that currently hold seats in Parliament, as well as representatives from the military.

Lawmakers said political parties were asked to submit nominations for the committee by July 4, with each party’s committee representation to be based on the number of lawmakers representing the party in Parliament.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the ruling party and by far Parliament’s biggest, will have 52 members on the committee. The National League for Democracy (NLD), the main opposition party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, will send seven representatives.

NLD parliamentarian Win Myint said he did not want to reveal which constitutional provisions his party would push to amend because the NLD still has not taken a public position on the matter.

The USDP also has not yet taken a stance on constitutional amendments, said Hla Swe, an MP from the party.

“MPs are allowed to submit their opinions to the committee. For USDP, we still have no policy so far on which provisions in the Constitution should be fixed,” he said.

Even though Suu Kyi had publicly announced previously that her party would collaborate with the USDP to amend the Constitution, no formal discussions between Burma’s two biggest parties have yet been convened.

The military has been allocated 25 committee members, according to lawmakers.

Other factions in Parliament, including ethnic political parties, will be allowed to join the committee.

The 2008 Constitution was approved by the country’s military dictatorship, led by Snr-Gen Than Shwe, and has been criticized abroad and at home for some of the document’s undemocratic provisions.

It is widely expected that among other proposed changes, the NLD will push to amend a constitutional provision that bars Suu Kyi from running for president because her late husband and two sons are foreign nationals.