Thousands of supporters turned out at Bo Sein Hman park in Rangoon on Saturday for a rally on constitutional reform organised by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (GPOS), the first time the two pro-democracy forces have joined hands in co-hosting a public event.
NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi called on Burma’s military leaders to join with the people in supporting amendment of the Constitution.
“There is presently no trust between the people and the army,” said the daughter of Gen. Aung San, founder of the modern Burmese armed forces. “The army doesn’t trust the people, and the people don’t trust the army. The military uses the Constitution for its own protection. That is not right.
“But do not worry,” she told the crowd. “We shall all move forward together. And together means together. We don’t want to discriminate between the military and the people.”
Suu Kyi said her party would like to amend the legal framework of the Constitution, and help Burma become a highly developed political nation. She also spoke of the lack of rule of law in the country.
“I want to see rule of law in Burma. If a country has no rule of law, it is not safe for its citizens,” she concluded.
88GPOS leader and former political prisoner Min Ko Naing also addressed the crowd, saying the current Constitution was inherited from military dictators.
“The president is the highest administrative power in the land,” he said. “The Constitution proclaims that he should have military experience. I can say frankly that this Constitution is a bad inheritance from the military dictatorship.”
Speakers rallied the public for their support in specifically overturning Article 436 of the Constitution, which states that any amendments must have the approval of 75 percent of the representatives in both houses of parliament.
NLD central executive committee member Win Myint said that Article 436 is the main clause of the Constitution which must be amended.
“If you act to amend other articles but not 436(a) then you will not get the support of the 75 percent that you need,” he said. “That’s why it is imperative that this article is prioritized.”
A similar public rally is scheduled to be held in Mandalay on Sunday.