Peace, Reconciliation Key to Constitutional Change: Win Myint

By Htet Naing Zaw 10 June 2016

NAYPYIDAW — Amending the Constitution will not be possible unless national reconciliation and peace are achieved despite the efforts of the National League for Democracy (NLD), said Win Myint, speaker of the Lower House, on Friday.

The speaker stressed the need for national reconciliation to amend the military-drafted 2008 Constitution as he met the press after the first regular session of Parliament came to an end.

“This process [of Constitutional reform] may be successful only with greater mutual understanding, trust and respect, for which national reconciliation and internal peace must be achieved,” Win Myint told the reporters.

Win Myint restated the NLD’s campaign slogan from Burma’s 2015 election, saying that amendment of the 2008 Constitution would follow after the establishment of the rule of law and internal peace.

“We would like to amend [the Constitution] during this term. We will amend it as soon as we possibly can. I understand that the faster it can be done, the greater it will benefit our country,” said Win Myint.

Burma Army chief Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing has said in interviews that he is willing to cooperate with the NLD government. But political analysts have pointed out that the military head and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi have not met since February.

Following the NLD’s electoral victory, Suu Kyi met Min Aung Hlaing in December 2015, and in January and February of 2016 to discuss a peaceful power transfer. But they have not met officially since the NLD assumed power on March 30.

Two months into the NLD’s administration, the National Defence and Security Council, of which Suu Kyi is a member as the foreign affairs minister, also has yet to meet.

The council, which has extensive powers over defense and security issues, comprises 11 members with the military holding six posts to the NLD’s five.

“We want to change the Constitution so much that our chairperson [Suu Kyi] traveled across the country calling for its amendment. But we just can’t do as we wish,” said Win Myint. “How can we try to achieve a goal [prematurely] that we know will fail?”

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.