RANGOON — The main Burmese opposition party has rejected a warning from the country’s election commission to Aung San Suu Kyi over her challenge to the country’s military to amend the 2008 Constitution.
In a letter dated May 22, the Union Election Commission (UEC) said Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy chairwoman, was “challenging the army” in comments she made during a rally in Mandalay days earlier. The UEC claimed the speech went against Suu Kyi’s oath as a parliamentarian and against the Constitution’s rules for political parties.
In an announcement released Monday, the NLD said the UEC’s warning was “inappropriate” and denied that the party was “speaking outside the boundaries of the Constitution” as alleged by the commission’s secretary, Tin Tun, in the letter
“We are just doing as it is stated in the Constitution: Any political party can stage rally freely as long as it’s in accordance with the law,” the NLD statement said.
“So we announce that the UEC’s intervention warning is inappropriate,” it said, accusing the UEC of overstepping its powers.
“The UEC can only carry out monitoring political parties in accordance with the Election Law and it has no right to carry out duties not enacted in the law.”
The NLD also pointed out that the UEC in its warning misquoted Suu Kyi when its statement had her urging the army’s representatives in parliament to “prove” they were acting in the interests of the people by amending the charter. The NLD countered that Suu Kyi in fact only addressed the army in general, which is backed up by The Irrawaddy’s recording of the speech, delivered in Mandalay on May 18.
“The correct wording is ‘Our army has to face the reality and say ‘we will amend the Constitution legally for the good of people,’” the announcement said.