The speaker of parliament in Myanmar says the country’s constitution cannot be changed before elections a year from now. Shwe Mann spoke this week to reporters in Naypyidaw -- the capital of Myanmar, also known as Burma. He said voters will be able to take part in a referendum, or special election, on constitutional changes in May. But he said it would be impossible for any changes to take effect immediately.
He says, “Some draft laws will need a referendum. We need the people to vote on them. This will be held next May, in 2015. The results of this referendum will have to be approved by both the upper and lower houses of parliament. But the parliament will meet only after the 2015 elections.”
He did not explain why changes must wait until the next parliament is seated.
Aung Kyi Nyunt serves in the current parliament. He belongs to the National League for Democracy, the party of Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. He says that delaying the changes would be a mistake.
He says “This will have an effect not only on the peace deal discussions, but also on other discussions related to stability issues. It will also affect issues related to the international community.”
Myanmar’s constitution bars Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president. It is unlawful for any president to have a husband, wife or children who are citizens of a foreign nation. The former husband of Aung San Suu Kyi was a citizen of the United Kingdom. Her sons are British.
I’m Caty Weaver.
*This report was based on a story from reporter Moe Saw in Yangon. George Grow wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
constitution – n. the written general laws and ideas that form a nation’s system of government
elections – n. voting
parliament - n. a government lawmaking group
bars - v. to prevent or block
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