Constitution review meeting set for 7 January

Constitution review meeting set for 7 January

The Burmese parliamentary Joint-Committee for Reviewing the Constitution (JCRC) said it will meet on 7 January to “process and discuss” the suggestions and proposals it has received regarding amending the 2008 constitution.

The JCRC recently announced that it had received over 400 letters from political parties, organisations and individuals with 2,512 suggestions, nearly 600 of which voiced recommendations for amendments to articles in the constitution’s Chapter One: Basic Principles of the Union.

The deadline to send in suggestions is 31 December. The ruling USDP, opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military are yet to send in suggestions.

The ninth session of the Burma parliament is scheduled to start in the second week of January when it will also table debate on constitutional reform.

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On Sunday, NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi gave the clearest indication to date that she is prepared to call for a boycott of the 2015 election if amendments are not made to the constitution.

Speaking to thousands of supporters at a rally in Thayarwaddy Township, Pegu Division, Suu Kyi said, “I believe that there are people who have dignity in the army and [other] political parties or organizations. Those who have dignity should not join the 2015 elections unless there is an amendment to the constitution. There will be no fair elections with the current constitution.”

Suu Kyi has been specifically campaigning for the removal of a clause lifted which prevents her running for the presidency due to the fact that she was married to a foreigner and has two children who hold foreign citizenship.

Meanwhile, the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (88POS) said they will list some suggestions to the JCRC including amendments related to the principles of federalism.

Spokesman Jimmy told DVB on Tuesday that the 88GPOS was preparing to send a letter to the JCRC in the third week of December.

“Our suggestions are mainly based around three key points: that the constitution should be susceptible to amendments; that power is decentralised with a focus on federalism; and that such a structure should be dominated by elected parliamentary representatives,” he said.

“We never accepted the 2008 constitution,” he said. “We boycotted its referendum and likewise we will support efforts by anyone to amend it and to promote democracy, human rights, national reconciliation, peace and equal ethnic rights.”

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