Myanmar Rejects US Call on Constitutional Reform

Burma Rejects US Call on Constitutional Reform

A member of Parliament from the military holds a copy of the Constitution as he speaks to other fellow MPs during a Parliament meeting in Naypyidaw on April 24, 2012. (Photo: Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun)

WASHINGTON — The United States says Burma should reform its Constitution to allow its citizens a free choice over who should be its next president, but Burma’s government said Tuesday that is none of Washington’s business.

A parliamentary committee in Burma last week voted against changing a constitutional clause that bars opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president. National elections are due in 2015.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that enabling the Burmese people to freely choose who they want to lead them in the next phase of its democratic transition will help to ensure stability.

“We believe constitutional reform should pave the way for the Burmese to freely choose their president in a free and fair 2015 election,” Psaki said in a written response to a question posed at a news briefing Monday. Reform should also address ethnic minority rights and decrease the role of active-duty military in political structures, she said.

In response, Burma’s presidential spokesman Ye Htut said Tuesday it’s the responsibility of Burma’s Parliament and people to decide how the Constitution should be amended.

“It is not the concern of the United States. It is inappropriate for us to tell how the U.S. should amend their constitution and likewise the U.S should not dictate how it should be amended,” he told The Associated Press by email.

That testy response reflects signs of fraying in the US-Burma relationship.

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been a staunch supporter of President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government as he steers the Southeast Asian nation from decades of oppressive military rule. The United States has restored full diplomatic relations and rolled back sanctions, helping Burma to shake off its pariah status.

But the United States has also been critical of the government’s response to bouts of anti-Muslim violence in the predominantly Buddhist nation. Last week the State Department voiced serious concerns about proposals to criminalize interfaith marriage.

The current constitution gives the military an effective veto over constitutional amendments, and includes a clause that bars anyone whose spouse or children are loyal to foreign countries from becoming president or vice president. Suu Kyi’s late husband and her two sons are British citizens.

If the parliamentary committee’s recommendation is endorsed by the full Parliament, it is likely to have a significant impact on the 2015 election. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party is expected to mount a strong challenge, with a good possibility of winning, but without Suu Kyi as a prospective president, its backers may flag in their support.

Suu Kyi is widely respected in Washington because of her long and peaceful struggle against military rule. She spent years under house arrest before her release in 2010 and election to Parliament in 2012.

Aye Aye Win reported from Rangoon.


9 Responses to Burma Rejects US Call on Constitutional Reform

  1. >>A Fool Never Learn >>Song>>by>>Andy William>>

    You know >>why>>
    >>maybe these guys could be fools>>because>>

    >>>>one screw up constitution (1974) drafted by Gen Ne Win >>(to cement his own power base) >>was the culprit of national uprising (1988) (thousands killed)>>and now another screw up constitution (2008) drafted by Gen Than Shwe>> (to cement his own power base again)>> could be the culprit of “killing fields” similar to Pol Pot’s Cambodia (1.7million killed)>>and this is real>>no imagination>>

  2. “In response, Burma’s presidential spokesman Ye Htut(idiot) said Tuesday it’s the responsibility of Burma’s Parliament(bama military dogs) and people(fox’s than shwe’s people-rapsits) to decide how the Constitution should be amended.”

    Whatever it is, DASSK will win the coming election 2015 so unethical soldier disorder party(USDP) has no other option in their dirty brain to beat DASSK. 2008 nargic constitution is their killing and raping guns to protect their last seconds for their survivals. Let see what is the decision on China on DSSK, ming ko naing and general Gun maw. If China has sympathy on poor Burmese, those corrupted bama generals have no place in Burma very soon.

  3. Now Burma becomes killing field of after General Than Shwe era for their benefits at the same they use Tatmadaw as their instrument and hand pick up. Many innocent peoples are misguided and planned to kill Muslims as if it will be a way out for their misdeed. Truth cannot be hidden long. The day will come for them to stand or face for the wrong doing at criminal court or in the mean time they must die then wrong doers will go to hell.

  4. “”Burma’s government said Tuesday that (Constitution change) is none of Washington’s business.””
    ——————————————

    I’m totally agreed with Burmese Government’s replied to US and constitution change is none of US business.

    US business is to impose new stronger sanction against Burmese Government and former and current hardliner Generals.
    US Government must know Burma is walking backward after relaxing on some of Generals and economy sanction from West and US.

    To all Burmese peoples, true change can be done by yourself with your two hands and head. International Governments do not have power to change Burmese domestic problems unless they willing to commit military support to armed revolutionary groups.
    However Armed groups are falling into Government’s honey trap.
    Now KNU has been begging President U Thein Sein for to stay in power. How shameful for Karen peoples?

    If Army does not want to give up its political power over Government and then Burmese peoples must stop Army its 52 years sucking blood from oppressing and sucking blood from Burmese peoples.
    Only Burmese peoples can stop greedy corrupted generals ruining daily lives of Burmese peoples.
    Fate of Burmese peoples is in our own hands and no one will come and rescues us.

  5. To give millions of dollars to Burma is Washington’s business but to tell Burma to do the right things is not. Burmese mentality will never change. As far as I am concern all of the fanatics Buddist monks and all the filthy rich army officials should hanged.

  6. I agree with U Ye Htut who said that it’s the responsibility of Burma’s Parliament and people to decide how the Constitution should be amended. Just make sure that the voices of all the people are heard. Burma is sandwiched between India with 1.2 billion people and China with another 1.2 billion. If Burma’s constitution is not fair to all citizens including all ethnic groups, there’ll be chaos and before long, Burma will become part of China and it will be the government of Burma’s own doing, not China. Don’t send S.O.S to the United States for help.

  7. Yes, it is none of the US’s business to meddle in the affairs of Burma or any other sovereign state.
    True, but Burma has the right to comment on any US policy if it is to do with the Burmese interests. In the same token, it is in the interest of the US to want to see that Burma is on an unshakable course of democratic reform. For the US has relaxed most of the economic sanctions on Burma, and still waiting if the remaining sanctions can be lifted.
    The sanctions were promulgated in the interest of the US. So, like it or not, there is a close relationship between Burma and the US in this respect. One should not be testy when the other party says something that may not be to one’s liking, but is evidently of mutual interest.
    About time Burma officials came out of their childish mentality.

  8. “”Burma’s government said Tuesday that (Constitution change) is none of Washington’s business.””
    ——————————————

    I’m totally agreed with Burmese Government’s replied to US and constitution change is none of US business.

    US business is to impose new stronger sanction against Burmese Government and former and current hardliner Generals.
    US Government must know Burma is walking backward after relaxing on some of Generals and economy sanction from West and US.

    To all Burmese peoples, true change can be done by yourself, your two hands and head. International Governments do not have power to change Burmese domestic problems unless they willing to commit military support to armed revolutionary groups.
    However armed groups are falling into Government’s honey trap. Now they are like a pussy cat and they won’t be catch rats anymore.
    Now KNU has been begging President U Thein Sein for to stay in power. How shameful for Karen peoples?

    If Army does not want to give up its power over Government and then Burmese peoples must stop Army its 52 years oppressing and sucking blood from Burmese peoples.
    Only Burmese peoples can stop greedy corrupted generals ruining daily lives of Burmese peoples.

    The chance of changing fate of our country from totalitarian state to democratic country is closer than ever now.
    Fate of Burmese peoples is in our own hands and no one will come and rescues us.
    The war on traitors must go on until all we are freed from fear.

  9. US should not totally lift sanctions until the undemocratic constitution is fully amended. With all the eager businesses pouring in, the government will never change.

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