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Myanmar’s parliament wraps up debate on constitution to limit military’s power

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Myanmar’s parliament wraps up debate on constitution to limit military’s power

myanmar military constitution
Photo: Aung Shina Oo/AP

After 58 years of military rule, Myanmar’s parliament will today close debate on how to amend its third and current constitution, which was written in 2008.

In a lightly reported step, on February 20, the Burmese parliament approved a joint military-civilian committee to debate constitutional changes. The negotiations arise from the barring of Myanmar’s powerful National League for Democracy’s Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency due to foreign family ties.

Myanmar’s constitution privileges the military with a special status by reserving 25% of parliament and several key national executive appointments for military officers. The Burmese military had curtailed foreign influence in the domestic economy and political statecraft with six decades of absolute power, but as the country transitions to civilian rule, the ruling officers do not want to see their influence over Myanmar’s future dissipate. Having already stated their acceptance of a reduced role in Burmese politics, the military is looking to maintain a say in Myanmar’s statecraft.

With a population expected to reach 65 million by 2050 and an economy quadrupling to $200 billion by 2030, the constitutional negotiations will determine whether Myanmar will transition to a stable civilian rule or retain an outsized military influence.

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