USDP leads push for constitional reform

USDP leads push for constitional reform

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) urged parliament to draft a bill amending the 2008 Constitution on Wednesday, 10 June.

It submitted a report suggesting the amendment of four articles in the 2008 Constitution, according to lower house Joint Bill Committee member Saw Hla Tun.

“The report – suggesting amendments to two articles in the Constitution’s Chapter 3, head of state; one article in Chapter 11, emergency provisions; and one article in Chapter 12, amendment of the constitution – was presented to the parliament by the USDP’s joint-secretary U Thein Zaw,” said Saw Hla Tun.

Article 59(f) of Chapter 3 in the 2008 Constitution effectively bars the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi from seeking the presidency, as the article prohibits anyone whose spouse or children have foreign citizenship from becoming president. Suu Kyi’s former husband and her two sons are of British nationality.

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A petition accompanied the report, signed by 298 MPs including lawmakers from the ruling USDP, the NLD, and several other political parties. The total number of signatures makes up 43.52 percent of the bicameral parliament’s 664 sitting MPs.

After being presented to parliament, the report was handed over to the Joint Bill Committee, a body to be tasked with preparing an amendment bill amending the constitution.

At the previous 7th session of the Union Parliament, the USDP’s Vice-chairman Aye Myint suggested forming a committee to collect suggestions for constitutional amendments. Following its formation, the committee called for opinions from political parties, civil society organisations and members of the public, receiving more than 28,000 submissions.

The report presented to parliament on Wednesday was based on these suggestions.

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