What are the eligibility requirements for holding elected office?
requirements are similar, except for age, for members of the Peoples’
Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw) and the National Assembly (Amyotha Hluttaw).
The age threshold for the Peoples’ Assembly is 25 years
of age while the National Assembly requires an age of 30. The
common requirements are that eligible candidates must be Burmese
citizens, from parents who both were born in Burma; and the person
must have resided in Burma for 10 consecutive years up to the
Can Daw Aung San Suu Kyi run for elected office?
long as she remains under house arrest, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains
ineligible to run for any elected office.
Is there a quota for female seats?
No, there is no quota
for female seats in either the National or the State and Division
Are any candidates, or persons who are likely to be candidates,
constitution requires that all candidates for the National Parliament
be citizens of Burma and must have resided in Burma for at least
10 consecutive years up until the time of their election. Therefore,
any exiled Burmese nationals would be ineligible to stand for
election because they had not resided in Burma for the past 10
Is the National League for Democracy (NLD) a registered political
According the 2010 SPDC election laws, all existing political
parties were required to apply with the SPDC Election Commission
by 6 May to continue to exist. The NLD refused to comply with
the new laws and thus ceased to exist when the 6 May deadline
What are the terms for elected representatives?
in both assemblies serve for five year terms. There are no term
What are the primary responsibilities and powers of Parliament?
National Parliament is responsible for passing legislation, ratifying
treaties, and amending the constitution with a supermajority of
more than 75%.
How long are sessions of Parliament?
constitution stipulates that both Assemblies must convene within
90 days of the commencement of the general election. The
length of parliamentary sessions is not specified in the constitution.
However, the constitution says that they Speaker of the National
Parliament shall convene the National Parliament regular session
at least once a year, and maximum interval between the two regular
sessions must not exceed twelve months.
Does the Executive have the right to dissolve Parliament and call
for new elections?
President may dissolve Parliament by declaring a state of emergency,
but not otherwise.
In the event of a state of emergency at the national level, who
will control governmental affairs?
constitution gives the Commander-in-Chief power to run all aspects
of the government.
How are laws enacted?
are enacted once approved by a majority vote (of those in attendance)
in both Assemblies and sent to the President for signature. Laws
will become effective within 14 days of receipt by the President
if he does not sign it. The President may return legislation to
Parliament ”with comments” but the President does
not have “veto” power over Parliament.
When the constitution becomes effective, what impact will there
be on existing laws?
laws in existence at the time the constitution comes into effect
will remain valid unless such laws conflict with the provisions
of the constitution. However, the constitution deprives people
of their basic human rights by stipulating “exception clauses,”
which preserve draconian laws such as the State Protection Law,
the Printers and Publishers Law, the Television and Video Law,
the Unlawful Association Act, the Emergency Provisions Act, and
the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law that explicitly prohibit
freedom of speech, association, and assembly.
How can the constitution be amended?
constitutional amendments require an affirmative vote of more
than 75% of the members of the National Parliament. On amendments
of the constitution’s so-called “fundamental principles”,
amendments also require a national referendum where the matter
must be approved by more than 50% of the number of eligible voters.
Is the President elected by popular vote?
The National Parliament nominates three Vice-Presidents from its
members: one Vice-President is selected by National Parliament
representatives selected by the Commander-in-Chief; one Vice President
is selected by the elected members of the Peoples’ Assembly;
and the remaining Vice-President is selected by the elected members
of the National Assembly. The entire National Parliament then
votes to select the President from among the three Vice-Presidents.
What are the eligibility requirements/qualifications for being
President must be a Burmese citizen, with both parents born in
Burma, 45 years of age, resided in Burma for 20 consecutive years,
must not have a foreign spouse or children that are not Burmese,
and must be well acquainted with Burma’s politics, administration,
economy, and military.
Can Daw Aung San Suu Kyi be President?
According the constitution, eligible candidates for the Presidency
or Vice Presidency cannot have parents, a spouse or children who
are foreign nationals. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s children are
Is the President empowered to pardon former political prisoners
once installed in office?
How are cabinet members appointed?
President appoints cabinet members who are subject to confirmation
by Parliament. However, the only basis on which a Presidential
appointee may be rejected is that the appointee fails to meet
the qualifications for the position. Regarding the Ministers of
Defense, Security/Home Affairs, and Border Affairs, the President
must appoint candidates from a list prepared by the Commander-in-Chief.
Cabinet officials do not have to be MPs. Cabinet members who are
MPs or civil servants are deemed to have resigned their posts
when they assume their Cabinet roles. However, Defense Service
personnel who are nominated for Cabinet positions are not required
What is the government structure at the State and Division level?
structure of State and Division governments mirrors the structure
at the national level except there is only one house of Parliament.
Will Burma’s ethnic nationalities be properly represented
in the National Parliament?
in the People’s Assembly is based solely on township and
population; no seats are explicitly allocated to ethnic nationalities.
However, since the population of the seven States is predominantly
comprised of ethnic-nationalities, a majority of the seats representing
123 townships in those State should be held by representatives
from the ethnic nationalities. Theoretically,
the National Assembly should comprise of 85 representatives from
ethnic nationality areas (seven States plus one representative
from the Naga Self-Administered Zone in Sagaing Division).
Are there any checks and balances between the Judiciary, Legislative,
really. Even though the constitution says there are checks and
balances, they really don’t exist except for the judiciary.
The President has no veto power over the National Parliament and
the ability of the National Parliament to reject Presidential
appointments is limited to a review of the person’s qualifications
vis a vis those specified in the constitution.
addition, there is absolutely no civilian oversight of military
affairs. The constitution provides for impeachment of elected
officials and judges but there is no provision that would allow
for the removal of the Commander-in-Chief once appointed. The
pervasive influence the military has over the executive and legislative
branches of government effectively nullify the effectiveness of
the ostensible checks and balances that are described in the constitution.
while most democratic constitutions enumerate fundamental human
rights such as the freedom of speech, assembly and of the press
that provide a further check on government power, the SPDC’s
constitution allows existing restrictions on fundamental freedoms
to remain in place. This limits checks on government power from
the press and from the people.
Who has ultimate control over the military?
The Commander-in-Chief is supreme commander of the Defense Services.
The constitution provides no oversight at all for military affairs,
including defense spending.
Who is the Commander-in Chief?
President appoints the Commander-in-Chief subject to the approval
of the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC). However,
the Commander-in-Chief is responsible for submitting the names
for three of the Union Ministers on the NDSC as well as appointing
his own deputy. So the procedure to initially form the NDSC and
select the Commander-in-Chief remains unclear. The constitution
does not enumerate any qualification criteria for the Commander-in-Chief.
Can current SPDC officials be held accountable for human rights
violations/crimes once a new government is formed?
445 of the constitution provides that no legal action can be taken
against SLORC and SPDC members who officially carried out their
duties “according to their responsibilities.” This
blanket immunity empowers the military regime to continue committing
pervasive human rights abuses, including crimes against humanity
and war crimes, until the SPDC is dissolved.