More than 5,000 people, including local lawmakers, turned out for a rally in northern Sagaing Region’s Kalay Township on Wednesday to call for changes to Burma’s constitution.
The issue, which the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) has made a cornerstone of its campaign to hold onto power after elections slated for next year, is seen as highly contentious, as the constitution as it currently stands guarantees the military a role in government.
Thant Wai Kyaw, the NLD MP for Kalay in the Sagaing Region parliament, said that any part of the 2008 constitution that does not serve and protect the interests of the country’s people should be removed.
“We must drop any articles of the constitution that are an obstacle to justice. And we need to add new articles that will protect the interests of the people. Constitutional change is really important for our country,” Thant Wai Kyaw told Khonumthung News.
Also in attendance at the rally were Kam Zamong, Sagaing Region’s agriculture and irrigation minister, and Lam Thawng Thang, the minister for Chin affairs.
The NLD has recently stepped up its efforts to rally public support for constitutional reform, an issue that was also central to its 2015 campaign, which propelled the party to power after decades of often brutal persecution at the hands of the country’s former military dictatorship.
On July 15, the NLD government formed a 45-member Constitution Amending Committee, which says it has identified 3,765 points that need to be amended.
According to Thant Wai Kyaw, there is still a long way to go before constitutional changes can be realized, but it is important for the public to show its support for the push for reform.
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