No abstract review for you

I’m still waiting to see if and when the Burmese Constitutional Tribunal hears its first case. In the meantime, I did come across a fascinating bit of news related to the tribunal. It appears the Upper House (Amyotha Hluttaw) passed a bill that would have required the tribunal to vet all new laws for conformity to the 2008 Constitution. According to Irrwaddy, the Lower House (Pyithu Hluttaw) rejected the measure. It’s not clear from the article whether this rejection was due to policy or process disagreements. I haven’t seen any mention of it yet in The New Light of Myanmar. Interestingly, this seems to have been a move by conservatives to restrain “reformist” impulses. The main proponent of the bill, Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker Khin Aung Myint, is seen as falling in the “hardliner” camp and may have proposed mandatory constitutional review as a means of limiting the power of reformers in the Pyithu Hluttaw. The coalition supporting the Lower House bill is quite interesting (according to Mizzima):

The bill was discussed and supported by Rakhine Nationalities Development Party MP Ba Shein of Kyaukpyu constituency; Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) MP Thein Swe of Ann constituency; Shan Nationalities Democratic Party MP Nan Wah Nu of Kunhing Constituency; and Unity and Democracy Party MP Dwe Bu of N’Jangyang constituency.

This debate might give us an idea of what the tribunal’s first case might look like and how elites expect it to rule…

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