Burma’s state-run newspapers published an announcement yesterday from the Union Election Commission stating the military had replaced the Defence Services’ parliamentary representatives with higher-ranking officers.
According to the announcement, 39 major-ranking military representatives in the People’s Parliament were substituted with more senior officials, which included four brigadier generals, nine colonels and 26 lieutenant colonels. Similarly, 20 major ranking military representatives in the National Parliament were also replaced with four brigadier generals, five colonels and 11 lieutenant generals.
The military has swapped parliamentary representatives in the past but never in such large numbers.
The replacements were made in the wake of recent by-elections that saw the National League for Democracy take a vast majority of the available seats.
The party’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi has publicly stated that her party would work to amend the constitution, which guarantees military representatives a quarter of the legislative body’s seats.
Currently, there are 322 civilian and 110 military representatives in the People’s Parliament, while the National Parliament has 168 civilians and 56 military members.
According to section 141 of the constitution, “representatives who are the Defence Services personnel [are] nominated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services” and not elected by the people.