10/23/2014, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Burmese military wants to retain veto power of constitutional reforms

With 25% of the seats allocated to them by law, the military control the country and all modern and democratic reform in society. Issues in dispute include Art. 59 (F) which prevents Aung San Suu Kyi becoming president and Art. 436, on the military veto. The next elections scheduled for late October and early November 2015.

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Burmese military leaders, who still hold the destiny of the nation in their hands, are opposed to any amendment to the Constitution - proposed in recent months - to deny them power of veto on changes and amendments to the Charter . This is , according to a parliamentary panel of "wise men" tasked with reviewing the country's military-written constitution approved in May 2008 during a national emergency caused by Cyclone Nargis.

The most controversial points, include "ad personam" norm - Article 59 (F) of the Constitution - which prevents Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), to run for the presidency of Myanmar.

The 31 members of the group, created in February, presented the final report to the Assembly a few days ago, with the proposed amendments to the Charter put forward by all parties in the political spectrum, including human rights organizations, movements, activists and the army. Parliament will discuss the various points, including the infamous article 436 which gives veto power to the military leaders. Article 436 effectively gives the military, which controls 25 percent of seats in parliament, a veto over constitutional amendments, since it requires more than 75 percent of parliamentary representatives to approve any change.  

Aung San Suu Kyi sees removing veto power as the first step to real democratic reform; for the military leaders in Parliament, however, the controversial norm "should be maintained in its original form". And the ruling party, the Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP), a direct offshoot of the former military junta, has granted "conditional" approval of the amendment of Article 436.

According to the amendment proposed by the NLD, future changes in the Charter may be made if there is the consent of 75% of elected MPs (therefore, excluding the military), or more than half of the total assembly, in this case including the 25 % reserved to ex-army officials. The second step is the ratification by citizens in a referendum.

In recent days, the election committee said that the next general elections, scheduled in 2015, will be held in the last week of October or the first of November.

 

 

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