World, Asia - Pacific

Myanmar: Charter reform bid on despite army opposition

Military strongly opposes amendments to constitution it drafted in 2008

19.02.2019
Myanmar: Charter reform bid on despite army opposition

By Kyaw Ye Lynn

YANGON, Myanmar

Myanmar's parliament voted in favor of setting up a committee tasked with drafting amendments to the country's current constitution, which gives the military major political powers.

Despite strong opposition from military lawmakers appointed by the leader of the country’s armed forces, Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the parliament voted on Tuesday for the establishment of the 45-member committee.

The committee proposal was submitted last week by a lawmaker from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in a first-ever move to amend the military-drafted 2008 constitution since the party took office in 2016.

"The committee will review the constitution, and will draft the amendments to it,” said Aung Kyi Nyunt, the NLD lawmaker.

"The amendments will be [to the] sections which majority of the lawmakers view as undemocratic," he told Anadolu Agency by phone.

The non-elected military lawmakers showed their disagreement by standing in silence when parliament voted to approve the proposal.

The constitution gives the armed forces chief to control over the three key ministries (defense, home affairs, and border affairs) and to appoint military officers to man the 25 percent of the parliamentary seats, both in regional and national legislatures.

It also gives the military the power to veto any proposed key changes to the constitution.

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