Ruling party submits draft bill to permit charter reform

11 June 2015
Ruling party submits draft bill to permit charter reform

Myanmar’s ruling Union party on Wednesday submitted to parliament a bill that would allow lawmakers to proceed with amending a draft law on constitution reform in the run-up to general elections later this year reported RFA on 10 June.
“I am submitting this proposal to be able to amend the draft law in accordance with sections 433, 434, 435 and 436,” said Thein Zaw, joint-secretary of the Union party.  
The sections call for amendments the constitution to be submitted in the form of the bill to the Union parliament which will discuss the bill only if 20 percent of Union lawmakers agree to do so.
The Union party included in the draft bill a change that would require no less than 70 percent of lawmakers, instead of 75 percent, to amend the constitution, he said. 
The party also included a change for the appointment of state and division chief-ministers so that they would be selected by members of parliament rather than directly appointed by the president, he said.
Once lawmakers accept the draft bill, they will proceed with amendments to the current constitution enacted in 2008 when a military junta ruled the country.
Myanmar’s major political players, including President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy (NLD), held six-party talks on constitutional reform in May.
It is widely believed that the NLD will win the general elections scheduled for November.
Aung San Suu Kyi wants amendments to the constitution to curb the political power of the military, which controls a quarter of the seats in parliament through appointment and holds an effective veto over proposed charter reform, and to change provisions that make her ineligible for the country’s presidency because her sons have foreign citizenship.