Public suggestions on constitutional amendment with Myanmar parliament

Yangon, Jan 31: Myanmar’s parliamentary Joint Committee for Review of 2008 Constitution Friday submitted to the parliament a wide range of suggestions received from the public for discussions and adoption by the parliament, media reported.

Constitutional amendment has been widely called for ahead of the 2015 general election for the emergence of the next term of government and achievement of domestic peace.

The committee said it received over 28,247 letters of suggestions from over 20 political parties, legal experts, government departments including the military and civil societies with the majority favouring the amendment, Xinhua reported.

The chapter-wise suggestions deal with almost all articles which call for amendment or abolition or addition.

The committee held that priority should be given to amendment of those provisions which require 75 percent consent of the parliament.

The 109-member joint committee, which took up the review work in five groups, closed the deadline Dec 31, 2013, for acceptance of suggestions from the public on constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile, Myanmar President U Thein Sein expressed his earlier belief that a healthy constitution must be amended from time to time to address national, economic, social needs of society, underlining that political dialogue, essential for national reconciliation and the foundation of the national peace process, may require the amending or revision of the constitution.

“Amending the provision on the qualification of the political leadership of the country, I would not want restrictions being imposed on the right of any citizen to become the leader of the country,” he also maintained.

The 194-page 15-chapter Republic of the Union of Myanmar Constitution – 2008 was promulgated by the previous military government in May 2008.

Under that constitution, a general election was held in November 2010, in which the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won the majority of the parliamentary seats with its then party chairman U Thein Sein being elected as president of the new civilian government, taking office in March 2011.

In 2012, the government amended the party registration law, re-legalising the opposition NLD, led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The NLD took part in the by-elections in April, winning 43 out of 45 open parliamentary seats with Aung San Suu Kyi holding a seat of the House of Representatives, or the lower house.

IANS