Bill fell short of required threshold . . .
Myanmar’s Parliament rejected a proposed constitutional amendment yesterday to curb the military’s influence in the government. While more than 60 per cent of legislators voted for the change, the bill fell short of the 75 per cent threshold required. Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), introduced the bill in January. If it had passed, the amendment would have cut the military’s share of seats in Parliament from 25 per cent to 15 per cent in 2020, and then to 10 per cent in 2025 and five per cent in 2030.
Obstacles to curtailing military’s influence . . .
Myanmar’s current constitution was drafted and ratified by the former military government in 2008. It allows the military to retain considerable power, including the ability to appoint the defence, border, and home affairs ministers. More controversially, it reserves 25 per cent of the seats in Parliament for military officials. With the 75 per cent threshold needed for a constitutional change, the military holds all but a de facto veto over any efforts to reduce its own influence in the country’s government.
A delicate relationship . . .
The relationship between the NLD government and the military has been precarious. Although Suu Kyi continues to fight for cutting the military’s power at home, she also defended last December the military when she appeared before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. That court was hearing allegations of genocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. Suu Kyi has said that the allegations are incomplete and misleading and that “if war crimes have been committed, they will be prosecuted within our military justice system.” With Myanmar’s general election approaching in November, she and her ruling party will have to continue to maintain the delicate relationship with the military.