By Arvind Ramakrishnan
Proposals to change the Myanmar constitution have followed what are likely to have been intense negotiations and compromise agreements between the military and Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) is increasingly set on the path of reconciling with the military, or at least working in conjunction with it, in order to gain greater power in parliament. The last time the constitution was significantly amended was in 2010, which preceded the military’s concrete steps to relinquish power. The amendments reserved 25% of all parliamentary seats for the military.
Strengthening reformist forces
The proposals strongly indicate that reformist forces have gained the upper hand in Myanmar, with the backing of the still-powerful military. The new constitution will still very likely see a quarter of all parliamentary seats reserved for the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). However, the ban on Myanmar citizens with foreign spouses or children becoming presidential candidates will almost certainly end. This will directly benefit Suu Kyi, who has been prevented from running from president because of the British citizenship of her late husband and their two sons. This will be the most workable agreement between the NLD and the army that is also likely to meet with the approval of the international (mainly Western) community. (more…)