Majority in Myanmar for constitution amendment

Yangon, Dec 14 : The National League for Democracy (NLD), Myanmar's opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, held a region-wide constitutional public opinion polling in Yangon Saturday in the form of a mass rally, in which 99 percent of participants agreed to the amendment of the existing 2008 constitution.

The mass rally, which was held in Suu Kyi's constituency in Kawhmu township, was attended by about 30,000 people, Xinhua reported.

Suu Kyi told the public gathering that the existing constitution was drawn not only for estrangement between the public and the military but also to affect national reconciliation in the country.

Only if the existing 2008 constitution is amended, people in the country can stay peacefully under the constitution, she said.

The NLD has been collecting public opinion on the constitutional amendment region-wise and state-wise since mid-October.

The NLD will submit the opinions to the parliament's Constitutional Review Joint Committee by the end of December for further review.

According to earlier announcement by the NLD, the majority of the public prefer amendment of the constitution while few people prefer re-drawing.

The 109-member Constitution Review Joint Committee, set up by Myanmar's Parliament in July, has extended the deadline for submission of such advice and assessment to Dec 31.

The NLD itself also formed a Constitution Amendment Committee.

The 194-page 15-chapter Republic of the Union of Myanmar Constitution - 2008, drafted in accordance with the detailed basic principles laid down by the National Convention, was promulgated in May 2008 after a nationwide referendum.

Under that constitution, a multi-party democratic general elections were held in November 2010, in which the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won the majority of the parliamentary seats with its then party chairman U Thein Sein being elected as president of the new civilian government who took office in March 2011.

In 2012, the government amended the party registration law, re-legalising the opposition NLD led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The NLD took part in the by-elections in April, winning 43 out of 45 open parliamentary seats.

--IANS (Posted on 14-12-2013)

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