Suu Kyi, 88 Gen leaders join for Constitution rally

Suu Kyi, 88 Gen leaders join for Constitution rally

Aung San Suu Kyi will team up with leaders of the 88 Generation Students group at rallies in Rangoon and Mandalay as part of a long-standing bid to amend Burma’s 2008 Constitution.

According to 88 Generation spokesperson Ko Jimmy, the public events were agreed at a meeting last month between opposition leader Suu Kyi and 88 Generation members Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi.

“Together, they will address the public about constitutional reform in Rangoon on 17 May and in Mandalay on 18 May,” he said, adding that details of the events will be released on Monday.

He told DVB that the main focus of the rallies would be to grow support for amending Article 436, which states that for a bill to pass it has to have the approval of 75 percent of parliament. However, as the army holds 25 percent of seats in both houses, it has the power to veto any motion that is not in their interests.

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National League for Democracy (NLD) party chairperson Suu Kyi has conducted a nationwide campaign aimed at garnering support for her proposal to amend certain points of the Constitution, notably Article 436, but also Article 59(f) which effectively bars her from becoming president because her husband and children have held foreign citizenship and she does not have military experience.

Speaking on the topic of the military veto in Mogok in Mandalay Division on 23 March, the NLD leader said the army should be proud to be as one with the public, instead of isolated.

“If the Tatmadaw [Burmese armed forces] is not of the same blood as the people and stands separately, it is not good for the Tatmadaw or for our country,” she said. “That is why I say that we all should try to amend the constitution that isolates the standing of army.”

Suu Kyi went on to say that amending the Constitution would bring stability to the country, but any reform would have to happen gradually.

Last month, the Burmese pro-democracy icon visited Germany and France, her third visit to Europe since 2012, where she canvassed international support for her agenda of constitutional change in Burma.

Standing alongside French President François Hollande, Suu Kyi called on France and the EU to help Burma to “move forward in a process that will ensure democratic values and democratic rights.”

She reminded the international audience that “Burma is not yet a democracy”, a process, she affirmed, that involves national reconciliation and a curtailing of military influence in politics, both to be achieved via constitutional reform.

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