Myanmar picks panel to reform army-scripted constitution | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 20, 2019

Myanmar picks panel to reform army-scripted constitution

Myanmar set up a committee to discuss reforming the country's military-drafted constitution yesterday, pitting Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government openly against the powerful armed forces for the first time over the incendiary issue.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a landslide in 2015 elections, but was forced into an uneasy power-sharing agreement with the armed forces.

Under a 2008 charter it drafted, the military controls all security ministries and is gifted a quarter of parliamentary seats.

That hands the army an effective veto over any constitutional change. Suu Kyi's party has promised to reform the controversial document.

With 2020 polls looming, parliament voted overwhelmingly yesterday to form a cross-party committee to debate reforms of the charter.

The main purpose of the "all-inclusive" panel will be to "write a bill to change the 2008 constitution", deputy speaker and committee chair Tun Tun Hein, an NLD lawmaker, told parliament.

The NLD will be allocated 18 out of 45 seats on the panel, the military will have eight and the remainder will be divided between other parties.

There has so far been no detail about the specific reforms the discussions would focus on, or the steps ahead once the panel makes its recommendations.

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