Upper House Speaker Canvasses MPs for Reform Suggestions

By The Irrawaddy 22 January 2015

RANGOON — Burma’s Upper House Speaker has set a Friday deadline for Upper House MPs to provide input into mooted six-party constitutional reform discussions.

Upper House lawmaker Myint Tun, a member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party told the Irrawaddy that Upper House Speaker Khin Aung Myint said during the parliamentary session on Wednesday that he would attend the constitutional forum and members had until Jan. 23 to offer suggestions for the agenda.

“He said he would discuss proposals based on our input,” said Myint Tun.

Myint Tun tabled the original call for six-party talks last November, outlining a proposal for a meeting between President Thein Sein, Burma Army Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, the speakers of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, National League for Democracy (NLD) Leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a member of the ethnic nationality parties to discuss constitutional reforms. Myint Tun’s resolution was unanimously accepted by Parliament later that month.

In the days that followed, however, Minister of Information Ye Htut told Radio Free Asia that a six-party meeting would be “impractical”, and the army chief reportedly told members of the Karen National Union that he would not accept six-party talks because he wanted the inclusion of more stakeholders.

On Monday, President Thein Sein issued a statement to the Union Parliament, offering what appeared to be in-principle support for the six-party discussion but noting the six-party proposal lacked detail and a specific framework for how constitutional issues would be discussed.

Myint Tun said he would send his input on the peace process and constitutional amendments to Khin Aung Myint by Friday.

“I will feed them my suggestions on those issues. Whether they agree or disagree is another matter for their discussion,” he said.