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Updated on March 11, 2019 From Myanmar Times

Debate over amendment continues to simmer

The Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) risks facing a backlash if the hluttaw does not debate the bill to amend Section 261 of the 2008 Constitution, said Union Solidarity and Development Party MP U Thaung Aye.
       USDP MP U Thein Tun submitted the bill with the support of more than 20 percent of MPs, but the hluttaw’s Joint Bill Committee suggested transferring it to the Constitutional Amendment Committee without debate in parliament.
       As a result, the hluttaw will decide whether to transfer the bill – which deals with the appointment of the chief ministers in regions and states – or keep it in the Joint Bill Committee.
       Military MPs and U Thaung Aye, USDP’s MP for Pyawbwe township, Mandalay Region, oppose the transfer. USDP spokesperson U Thein Tun Oo said he will prepare a formal protest against the Speaker if the bill is transferred.
       U Thaung Aye told reporters on Wednesday, “If they proceed with the transfer, we will formally protest, because if anybody acts against the regulations, we have to respond as members of the legislature.”
       Impeachment is an option under the regulations of the assembly, and he won’t stop it, said hluttaw Deputy Speaker U Tun Aung. “We can’t stop them [the USDP and military MPs] from using it. We don’t supersede the law,” he said.
       The amendment of Section 261 would see regional chief ministers elected by local legislatures rather than appointed by the president, said U Thein Tun.
       “If the bill remains under the Joint Bill Committee, the process would be quicker than if it is transferred to the Constitutional Amendment Committee, as that group is working on the constitution section by section from the beginning,” U Thein Tun said, adding that he sees the effort to transfer the bill as an attempt to delay it.
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