Suu Kyi: Charter Reform for Democratic Myanmar Depends on Military Chief


Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Wednesday that it was critical for the country’s powerful armed forces chief to back demands for changes to the constitution, which makes her ineligible for the presidency and reserves a quarter of parliamentary seats for military representatives.

Speaking while on a trip to Australia, the 68-year-old Nobel laureate told a crowd at the Sydney Opera House that Myanmar had still not “successfully taken the path to reform” because the military-written 2008 constitution bars the country from becoming a democracy.

She said that Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing holds great sway on the proposed constitutional reforms considering the fact that the current charter reserves 25 percent of seats in parliament for members of the military and requires a 75 percent parliament majority for a referendum on charter changes.

“The commander-in-chief at any time can decide who represents the military in the legislature. That means, in effect, that the commander-in-chief decides whether or not the constitution can be amended,” she said.

“How can you call a constitution democratic when it can be amended or not amended in accordance with the will of one man who is in an unelected post?”

She said the procedures for making any constitutional amendments in Myanmar were among the most rigid in the world and were just one of many parts of the charter that render it “totally undemocratic.”….(…)

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