Thursday, December 01, 2016

Unusual arrangements

Aun Sung Suu Kyi is the State Counsellor of Myanmar. My friend explained the powers of this office.

Under the Myanmar constitition, which was drafted by the military junta in power, ASSK is bared from holding the office of President because her children are non-citizens. This provision was drafted primarily to exclude her from this office.

Her political party won a landslide victory and had overwhelming control of Parliament. They could not change the constitition because it required 75% vote of Parliament and 25% of the seats are reserved for the military. In effect, the MPs appointed by the military is able to block any change to the constitution.

In Myanmar, the President is appointed by Parliament. ASSK party decide on the President but she is barred from holding this office according to the constitution.

The ruling party passed a new Act of Parliament to set up the office of State Counsellor. They gave this office more power than that held by the President in the constitution. This turns out to be an embarrassment to the military. It is a way to recognize that ASSK is the real power in Myanmar.

In some aspects, our constitution in Singapore on the Elected President has some similarity to the unusual arrangement in Myanmar.

Our Elected President has to refer to the Council of Presidential Advisers on some of its important decisions. The real power could lie with the Council, rather than the "Elected" President.

There is also the arrangement for our Elected President to be "reserved" for a certain minority group. This is our way of barring certain people from contesting the election.

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