Rejection of Charter Reform Bill ‘Deeply Troubling’: US Lawmakers

By The Irrawaddy 26 June 2015

Two US lawmakers released a joint-statement on Thursday criticizing the military bloc within Burma’s Union Parliament for voting down proposed amendments to the country’s constitution.

“Today’s move by the Burmese military in the parliament only solidifies concerns that the country’s upcoming elections cannot be free, fair, or credible. While the results may not be surprising, they are deeply troubling,” said Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley and Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in the statement.

“Without needed changes, Burma’s constitution, written under military rule and adopted through a farcical vote, continues to give major powers to the military instead of the people. Further, the government continues to maintain a narrowly crafted, arbitrary constitutional provision specifically designed to prevent opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from serving as president,” the statement said.

In a secret ballot attended by 583 MPs on Thursday, 67 percent voted in favor, just short of the 75-plus minimum required for passage.

The bill recommended amendments to several controversial clauses in the constitution, including reducing—from 75 to 70 percent—the number of votes required to amend most parts of the charter.

Following the vote, Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi turned her focus to the upcoming election later this year and called on her supporters to remain upbeat.

“The public will clearly understand who wants change and it will help the public to clearly decide who they should vote for in the election,” she told reporters according to the Associated Press.