Tuesday, 15 October 2019

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NDF proposes constitutional changes

Myanmar opposition party, the National Democratic Force (NDF), says it will propose an amendment to the 2008 Constitution that the spouse of any future president does not need to be a Myanmar citizen.

khin-maung-shwe-1It went on to say that the present constitution has too many restrictions, and that the role of the military in parliamentary affairs should be downsized.

“Marriage to a foreigner and the nationality of any subsequent generation should not affect the eligibility of a president,” party chairman Khin Maung Swe told Mizzima. “Any citizen of the Union of Myanmar deserves human and citizen rights. Restrictions which targeted a specific person are not laws.”

Although the NDF chairman did not make any direct reference to a “specific person”, most observers will assume that he was referring to National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was previously married to an Englishman and whose two sons have UK citizenship.

The NDF is a breakaway faction of the NLD. It split from its mother party in 2010 to contest generals while the NLD boycotted.

Khin Maung Swe said that the NDF had also included in its draft constitution a proposal that the 25 percent of seats in parliament reserved for military appointees should be reduced.

The NDF proposal was supported by Daw Doi Bu of the Kachin State Union Solidarity and Development Party who said, “When the democratic system becomes genuine, the participation of military MPs will gradually be reduced. Such a step happened previously in Indonesia.”

However, Dr. Aye Maung, the chairman of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, said that such a move to reduce military representation in parliament would not be easy, and that it required a sense of trust to persuade them.

Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myit, an NLD central committee member, said that she agreed with the NDF’s proposals.

The NDF’s draft amendment has been uploaded on their website where it states that the party will announce its proposals after it holds its 4th Central Committee Meeting on June 14-15.

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