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Suu Kyi's 'time for change' pledge falls flat

Myanmar's ruling party fails to show progress on peace and constitutional change after four years

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Suu Kyi's 'time for change' pledge falls flat

State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi (center) attends a ceremony for the country's 73rd Union Day in Pinlon, Shan state, on Feb. 12. Her party knows it will not be easy changing the charter if they do not get the support of the military. (Photo: Thet Aung/AFP)

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On March 10, most people in Myanmar paid close attention to the union parliament as lawmakers voted on proposals for constitutional change backed by the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).

As expected, the party’s bid to reduce the military’s role failed as the military lawmakers vetoed them. It was the first day of voting on a series of amendments to the military-drafted constitution that will continue until March 20.

Again, the NLD’s proposals, including a clause that bars State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president, were defeated on March 11. 

The NLD has a majority representation in the bicameral parliament, but military lawmakers, who account for 25 percent of seats in the national and regional parliaments, have the power to veto any proposed constitutional changes, especially provisions that would curb their power. 

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