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Suu Kyi Reaffirms Pledge to Revamp Myanmar's Constitution

  • VOA News

FILE - Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives at the country's parliament in Naypyitaw, March 15, 2016.

FILE - Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives at the country's parliament in Naypyitaw, March 15, 2016.

Aung San Suu Kyi says Myanmar's constitution needs to be amended in order to transform the former military-ruled nation into a true "federal democratic union."

The Nobel Peace laureate and de facto head of state repeated her vow to revise the nation's charter during a nationally televised speech Monday, as part of her goal to ensure "national reconciliation," including equal treatment of the country's various ethnic groups.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been plagued by ethnic insurgencies since gaining its independence from Britain in 1948.

The current constitution was crafted by Myanmar's long-ruling military junta shortly before turning over power in 2011 to a semi-civilian government. But the military granted itself 25 percent of all parliamentary seats, plus the key ministerial posts of home affairs and defense -- enough to give it veto power over any proposed constitutional changes.

The constitution also bars Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president, because she was married to and had children with a foreign national. But she is serving in President Htin Kyaw's Cabinet as foreign minister, and is also serving in the legislature-created post of "state counselor," allowing her to follow through with her pledge to run the government through a figurehead president.

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