Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi pledged on Monday to push ahead with efforts to amend her country’s constitution before the next election in 2015.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy considers the current constitution undemocratic because it gives the military a substantial percentage of parliamentary seats and disqualifies Suu Kyi from running for president.
“This constitution has to be changed if we are ready to make the transition to democracy,” Suu Kyi told a news conference during a visit to Singapore.
“I will continue with efforts to have the constitution amended,” she said, adding there will be problems if it is not done by 2015.
Suu Kyi said it was “a bit premature” to say what would happen if the constitution isn’t amended.
Burma’s parliament established a committee in July to review the constitution. The 109-member committee includes lawmakers from all parties in parliament, including Suu Kyi’s party and President Thein Sein’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, along with the military’s allotted representatives.
Possible changes might allow ethnic minorities increased self-rule, including allowing ethnic minority parties to elect their own chief ministers in their regions, rather than have them appointed.
The current constitution was drawn up under the previous military regime to ensure its continuing influence in government.
Since coming to office in 2011, Thein Sein has instituted a series of political and economic reforms after almost five decades of repressive army rule. A major achievement was persuading Suu Kyi’s party to rejoin the electoral process after decades of government repression, and her party won 43 of 44 seats it contested in by-elections last year.
“I will challenge you to show me another party in Burma that is as capable as the NLD,” Suu Kyi said in Singapore. “This is the only party to date that has been constructed democratically … I am confident of the capacity of my party to carry our people with us, and that is what is important.”