Kachin State Chief Minister Says Peace Will Precede Constitutional Change

Monday, July 20, 2020

Once peace is restored in Burma, amendments to the country’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution can be discussed, Kachin State’s chief minister said in a press conference on Friday.

The press conference was held in the Kachin State government’s office in Myitkyina and reviewed government activities since 2016, including those concerning peace building, border trading, enforcing the rule of law, and addressing drug issues.

“We have said we are going to change the 2008 Constitution if peace is restored in our country,” chief minister Dr. Khet Awng said. “We can build a genuine democratic federal Union after we change the 2008 Constitution. In my opinion, therefore, peace and the 2008 Constitution mutually impact each other.”

Dr. Khet Awng’s party, the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) made an electoral promise in 2015 to restore peace in Burma and change the constitution, but he pointed out that the promise remains unfulfilled.

A meeting of all stakeholders, including the Burma Army and all ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) must be held, he said.

“If they can negotiate in the meeting based on their love for this country, the development of this country and its people, peace negotiations are not impossible,” the chief minister said. “Our government is implementing the peace process. We all want to build a democratic federal Union.”

Dr. Khet Awng went on to say that the “main reason for not having peace” was “dependent on major organizations such as EAOs” and re-stated the need for a meeting based on “love for the country.”

The press conference was attended by more than 100 people, including ministers, department heads and representatives of media outlets.