KNU Wants Constitution Change, Talks With Karen Political Parties

A Karen National Union (KNU) delegation led by its chairman General Mutu Say Poe met recently with Karen political parties in Hpa-an to discuss plans it has for amendments to Burma’s contentious 2008 Constitution.

The KNU delegation met with the Phalon Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP), the Karen People Party (KPP), Karen State Development Party (PSDP) and Karen Democratic Party (KDP) on August 28 to discuss how they will push for amendments to Burma’s 2008 Constitution – a broad range of pro democratic activists, human rights advocates and the international community criticized it as a sham constitution that favors and gives parliamentary control to the current military-backed government.

Naw Yu Za Na Wah, a center committee member and the chairperson of the PSDP Women Affairs told Karen News about its discussion with the KNU.

“We want the KNU to make the public well informed about its peace process that it is implementing with the [Burma] government. We also talked about how we are going to make amendments to the 2008 Constitution.”

The KNU chairman general, Saw Mutu Say Poe, said that the KNU was working on informing the public to understand about the situation of its current peace building process with the government. Saw Mutu Say Poe said it would also start awareness raising on how the KNU will work towards its constitution amendments during the current ceasefire with the Burma government.

“With the constitution amendment, the government only wants to do it through the existing system, that is through Hluttaw [Parliament]. The system [to amend constitution] that we want is outside the Hluttaw – this has been widely used by the international community. The KNU wants to amend the Constitution outside of the Hluttaw [Parliament].”

General Saw Mutu Say Poe added that the KNU already has a system in place for the constitution amendment outside of the Hluttaw and they will raise the issue and discuss it with U Aung Min, the deputy chairman of the Union Peace Working Committee of the President’s Office and with other relevant government officials.

More than 30 people attended the Hpa-an meeting and included the KNU chairman general Saw Mutu Say Poe, Major Saw Htoo Htoo Lay, the PSDP vice chairman Mahn Aung Pyay Soe, the KPP chairman Saw Tun Aung Myint, the KDP chairman Saw Than Kyaw Oo and officials from KSDP. This is the first meeting held between the KNU and country based Karen political parties to discuss the 2008 constitution amendment.

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