After calling process unconstitutional, nearly all Tatmadaw MPs register to discuss amendment bills

Nearly every military-appointed MP has registered to discuss bills aimed at amending the 2008 military-drafted constitution, according to parliamentary records.

Of the 166 military-appointed MPs, 164 have registered, according to Aung Kyi Nyunt, an upper house lawmaker and member of the ruling National League for Democracy’s (NLD) central executive committee.

This dwarfs the number of MPs registered from the NLD, at 69, and the 49 independent and ethnic party member MPs registered.

The military has repeatedly called the process that produced the bills unconstitutional.

Aung Kyi Nyunt said the discussions, which will be led by the speaker of the union parliament, should conclude within the year.

The bills come a year after Aung Kyi Nyunt first submitted a proposal to form a charter amendment committee to begin drafting the bills.

The NLD-led, 45-member committee that came out of that proposal has submitted seven amendment bills to parliament: two backed by the NLD and five by the military and its ally the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

No date has been set yet for the beginning of parliamentary debate on the bills.

They include 142 proposed constitutional amendments, any of which would need the support of more than 75% of parliament, giving the military, with its constitutionally allotted 25% of seats, assured veto power.

The constitution also gives the military the power to appoint the ministers of defence, home affairs and border affairs – some of the most powerful posts in government – and one of the country’s three vice presidents.

These and other provisions have led critics to call the 2008 constitution, written by the then-ruling military junta, undemocratic.

In national elections in 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party won in a landslide in large part by campaigning for constitutional reform.

Translating by Mratt Kyaw Thu.

Editing by Danny Fenster.

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