This Week in Parliament
By The Irrawaddy 14 March 2020
Monday (March 9)
Parliament took a day off to mark Full Moon Day of Tabaung.
Tuesday (March 10)
The Union Parliament began voting on proposed amendments to the 2008 Constitution.
Proposals that sought to end the defense services’ national political leadership role, gradually reducing the military’s share of seats and to end both the commander-in-chief’s role as the supreme commander of the armed forces and his right to take power during an emergency failed to receive the required support of more than 75 percent of lawmakers.
Only two proposals – the changes to the written term for “disabled” in Burmese – were approved.
Wednesday (March 11)
The National League for Democracy’s (NLD) proposal to scrap the Article 59(f), which bars anyone with a foreign spouse or children from the presidency, ended in failure.
The article is widely viewed as targeting State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose children are British, as was her late husband.
The military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lawmaker called being able to block the NLD’s bid to scrap Article 59(f) a victory for the nation.
Meanwhile, the structure of the country’s most authoritative security body, the National Defense and Security Council, remains unchanged as the NLD’s proposal to add two deputy parliamentary speakers to the 11-member council failed to receive the required support of more than 75 percent of lawmakers. The military, therefore, will retain its dominance of the council with six members.
Lower House USDP lawmaker U Thaung Aye expressed his concern that the NLD’s fruitless attempts to change the 2008 Constitution will mar the image of Myanmar’s military with the international community.
Thursday (March 12)
A series of amendments proposed by the NLD to limit the special powers of Myanmar’s military chief during states of emergency failed.
The commander-in-chief will thus continue to enjoy sovereign powers in emergencies, including the right to exercise the powers of the legislature, executive and judiciary.
Friday (March 13)
The NLD’s bid to reduce the requirement for approving a charter amendment from more than 75 percent of lawmakers to “two-thirds of elected representatives” ended in failure, meaning Myanmar’s military, which holds 25 percent of seats in the national legislature, will continue to retain its veto over any constitutional amendment.
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