The rule of law will be vital to ensuring that the recent changes in Myanmar continue, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi underlined yesterday. During her first visit to her former home, the United Kingdom, in 24 years the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former political prisoner said at the London School of Economics (above) that unity in her country would only be achieved within a legal framework.
On the BBC’s Newsnight programme broadcast yesterday evening, presenter Kirsty Wark reminded the Burmese icon that her party, the National League for Democracy, had at first argued that it was undemocratic to have 25% of the seats in parliament reserved for the military: ‘So, presumably that is one of your earliest priorities, to change the constitution?’
Aung San Suu Kyi replied that: ‘Well, quite recently the … defence minister said at a conference in Singapore that the military had no intention of holding on to the 25% forever, and that when the time was right they would decrease their … role in parliament. So that was not bad to begin with, and this after we had said that we wanted amendments to the constitution.’
The conference in question was the Shangri-La Dialogue 2012, and Aung San Suu Kyi was referring to the question and answer session with Lieutenant General Hla Min. In response to a question from Richard Lloyd Parry of the Times newspaper in London, the Myanmar defence minister said: