Strange bedfellows?

More controversy between Burma’s two Hluttaw chambers. The two chambers are trying to resolve a bill regulating peaceful protests. According to The Myanmar Times, the Pyithu Hluttaw is seeking a stronger bill than the Amyotha Hluttaw. In particular, U Thein Nyunt of Thingangyun argued that protesters should be allowed to carry the national flag, and not just the flag of their organization or party.

A few things strike out at me. From a legal point of view, Thein Nyunt is using the 2008 Constitution to justify his arguments about the bill. It’s fascinating to see that the constitution – so maligned just a year ago – now becomes a platform for rights debates in the Hluttaw.

Politically, the amount of influence Thein Nyunt has over this issue is surprising. He is, after all, a former NLD member and current MP from the National Democratic Force. Yet, he is not only allowed to speak out, but Speaker Thura Shwe Mann approved his objections. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted this a year ago…

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