UEC chair says it will be difficult to hold a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendment this year
Union Election Commission (UEC) chair U Tin Aye told Mizzima Weekly on May 26 that it would be very difficult to hold a national referendum on constitutional amendment prior to the election. This year’s election is likely to be held in October or the first week of November.
“After educating voters, we will have a responsibility to hold it, so we will hold it. But, I cannot say whether we can hold it or not. In the year in which the general election will be held, I will have difficulty in holding the nationwide referendum,” he said.
It will take a long time to prepare for the national referendum on constitutional amendment, and citizens need to be educated about the points that need to be amended, says U Tin Aye.
According to Article 5 (a) of the national referendum law enacted on 10 February, 2015, the Union Parliament will have to ask the Union Election Commission to hold a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendment.
Section 436 (b) of the constitution says that 95 sections of the constitution can be amended with the prior approval of more than 75 percent of all the representatives of the Union Assembly.
Many critics have voiced concern over the possibility that the constitution will not be amended in the coming months.
If the authorities fail to amend the constitution, this year’s general election will not be free and fair, the United Nationalities Alliance and the 88-Generation Peace and Open Society said in a meeting they held at the Holiday Restaurant in Yangon on May 22.
They said that at the current time, the ethnic minorities are united and political forces are united, so all they need is to amend the 2008 Constitution.
“To clearly explain the amendment of the constitution is parliament’s responsibility,” said UEC chairman U Tin Aye. “I’ll do it in accordance with my duty. But the process is very long. It is not easy.”
Earlier, Parliament Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann has repeatedly told the international and local media that the nationwide referendum on constitutional amendment was likely to be held in May or in the period prior to the election
Union Election Commission chairman U Tin Aye. Photo: Mizzima