Suu Kyi says constitutional reform will unify military and people

4.-NLD-ASSK
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By DVB 16 December 2013

Burma Times-Speaking to party supporters in her Rangoon constituency on Saturday, National League for Democracy (NLD) chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi said her endeavours to amend the constitution should not be seen as opposition to the military, rather as an attempt to unify the military and the public.

Lower House MP for Kawmu Suu Kyi said she sees the 2008 constitution as designed to use the military as a scapegoat whenever an issue arises that upsets the public.

“Our endeavour to amend the constitution, to take a leadership role in the national politics, does not mean we oppose the Tatmadaw [Burmese armed forces] and we would like everyone to know our intention is to unify the Tatmadaw and the public,” she said.

“I see that the current constitution, while not only inciting enmity between the army and the people, was designed to use the Tatmadaw as scapegoats whenever issues arises that upset the public.”

She also reminded the public not to misjudge the military.

“When the 25 percent of military representatives in parliament oppose the ideas proposed by the 75 percent of civilian representatives, people should not regard this as the Tatmadaw opposing their desires – the way I see it, the military MPs are just being used as scapegoats.”

Speaking at the same event, NLD Central Executive Committee members Win Myint and Htay Oo lectured the 30,000 attendees on how the constitution should be amended. According to the party’s own survey, some 99 percent of those at the rally wished to see the constitution amended rather than completely rewritten.

The party also conducted a survey in Pegu division’s Thayarwaddy township on 15 December. The township’s NLD secretary Kyaw Naing Oo said 95 percent of the 35,000-40,000 people who joined in said they wished to see the constitution amended.

A recent survey in Naypyidaw on 18 November was joined by around 20,000 people, 88 percent of whom expressed a desire to see the constitution amended, according to the NLD, while a previous survey in Rangoon on 10 November saw 99 percent in favour.

The NLD has been on a road trip conducting public surveys across the country to gain support for its proposal to either amend or rewrite the 2008 constitution – findings that are due to be submitted to the parliament’s Joint-Committee for Reviewing the Constitution.

On Monday, 16 December, EU member states are expected to back the NLD’s call to amend the constitution at a meeting in Brussels, according to European diplomats cited by the Financial Times.

Tying its recommendation closely to Suu Kyi’s bid to change electoral laws to allow her to run for president in 2015, the report said the bloc’s foreign ministers will warn Burmese leaders that, without free and fair elections, Burma risks returning to a state of civil unrest and erasing the pro-democracy reforms it has undertaken since 2010.

 

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