On Thursday June 25th, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw voted against five out of six proposed changes to the 2008 constitution, only passing a small matter related to 59(d). Frontier spoke to Khin Maung Swe, leader of the National Democratic Force (NDF), about his views on the matter.
Is it a surprise that amendments to Article 436 were rejected?
No it is not a surprise, we already knew that changes to 436 would be rejected. We knew that the military would make it difficult to change that, because it they do then they no longer have a role to play in parliament. The military will not give up its power because the peace process is still ongoing.
Are they more likely to give up their parliamentary power if and when the peace process is completed?
Yes I think so. Once it is completed, the military will gradually decrease its role in parliament. The most important thing is to establish trust between Aung San Suu Kyi and the military, because until that distrust changes, the situation will remain the same. We want to have a democratic constitution, but it will take five or 10 years to happen.
Was the rejection to change Section 60(c), stating that the President should be selected from elected MPs, a surprise?
No, we did not agree with this amendment in the first place. Our country has a Presidential system, not a parliamentary system, so we do not believe that this change is beneficial to our system or our country.