Less than Expected (Myanmar/Burma)

By now most readers have probably read the news that Myanmar’s Joint Constitutional Review Committee has issued a report advising against drastic amendments to the 2008 Constitution. According to The Irrawaddy, while the report supports amendments decentralizing government authority to state and region governments, it rejects both the proposal to reduce the military’s role in the legislature and revision of § 59(f) (the ban on presidential candidates with foreign dependents).

The Committee claims that it received over 106,102 letters opposing any amendment to § 59(f), compared to just over 500 in support of change. However, a member of the governing Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has revealed that the petition came from a USDP sponsored initiative and most of the majority of those signatures are from USDP members. It’s a somewhat surprising move given that the USDP seemed to have been amenable to amending § 59(f) just a few weeks ago.

In other news, after months without any cases, President Thein Sein is now threatening to submit eight new laws to the Constitutional Tribunal. According to The Myanmar Times, the laws include:

  • the Anti-Corruption Law 
  • Farmers’ Rights Protection Law
  • the Pyithu Hluttaw Law
  • Amyotha Hluttaw Law
  • Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law
  • Region and State Hluttaw Law
  • Union Auditor General’s Office Law 
  • Constitutional Tribunal Law
This will be the Tribunal’s first test after the August 2012 impeachment crisis, and it’s a big one. Perhaps more importantly, it will give us an indication of how the current Tribunal members will rule. Will they stick to the more textualist/originalist interpretation of their predecessors? Will they defer to the legislature or find a way to stake out their independence?

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