In his message to the Trustbuilding for peace consultation, as the Shan conference being held in Rangoon is officially titled, Shan State Army (SSA) South leader Lt-Gen Yawdserk presented a 6 point proposal, one of which is the amendment of the 2008 constitution.
“Constitutional amendment process should not be impeded by the (more than) 75% (of all the Union Assembly representatives) condition,” his message reads. “A democracy can take form only if the constitution is acceptable to the majority. Nobody wants a forced democracy.”
He calls for the right to revise the charter “outside the parliament.” Other points include:
- A genuine federation, whether it is 8 states or 14 regions/states arrangement; election of chief ministers and the union president directly by the people
- Designation of ethnic armed forces as state security forces
- The right for each state/region to manage, trade and enjoy benefits from its natural resources
- The safeguarding of languages, cultures, traditions and rights of the ethnic peoples
- Speedy commencement of political dialogue and maintenance of truce until its successful conclusion
He praised President Thein Sein as a “big hearted” leader.
According to 7 Day News journal, Minister for President’s Office U Aung Min, who attended the opening ceremony of the conference yesterday, said, “There is great need for all the stakeholders to reach a common understanding on the long-misinterpreted federalism, power sharing and resources-sharing.”
More than 200 Shans and invited guests had attended yesterday’s session. Vice President Sai Mawk Kham, who was invited to open the event, somehow did not make it. Many express exultation over the fact that such a meeting ever took place well inside government controlled areas. “I never expected to witness it during my lifetime,” said a Shan politician.
The meeting, which took place after the opening ceremony, took place indoors. The media will be invited again for the press conference to be held at the conclusion of the consultation, according to its organizers.