Myanmar military MPs object to phrase ‘democratic federal Union’

NAYPYITAW (Eleven Media Group/ ANN) -  Military MP Major-General Than Soe told the Union parliament that while he supports the Union Peace Conference, also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference, he would like the parliament to amend the phrase ‘democratic federal Union’ in the Union parliament’s statement on the conference.

UPDATE: Heading amended.

The move came after Union parliament speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than announced the parliament’s support for the Union Peace Conference on August 30.

The statement said the Union Peace Conference would start on August 31 and that representatives of the government, parliament, Tatmadaw, ethnic armed groups, political parties and CSOs would attend the conference.

“The 21st Century Panglong Conference has emerged alongside the changes in the political landscape in the 21st century. Political problems will have to be politically solved. [The conference] aims to establish a democratic federal Union through the internal peace process. It is an important process that will give ethnic minorities equal rights and basic fundamentals. It will spotlight internal peace and national reconciliation,” the statement said.

“The emergence of a democratic federal Union is the main strategy of the 21st Century Panglong Conference,” the statement said.

“The phrases ‘establishment of a democratic federal Union’ and ‘the emergence of a democratic federal Union’ go against the constitution. I support the Union Peace Conference, but these wordings should be amended,” said MP Maj-Gen Than Soe.

The MPs motion passed with 391 votes for and 184 against, with 5 abstentions.

“Maj-Gen Than Soe did not mean to object; he mentioned only the wording. The constitution does not use the term ‘federal’. The military representative recommended correcting the wording to be in line with the constitution. The speaker decided to use the voting process, which makes it seem like a [bigger problem]. Really, we did not mean to make objections. We want the wording to be amended to be appropriate with the constitution. We have nothing to say about the voting,” said military MP Brigadier General Maung Maung.

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