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Myanmar president calls for reform of military-drafted constitution

YANGON: Myanmar's civilian President called in an Independence Day speech yesterday for reform of a military-drafted Constitution and for justice for all recognised minorities under a federal system, but he made no mention of the treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

Amending the charter to remove a dominant political role for the military has been one of the most contentious issues facing Myanmar as it emerges from nearly half a century of strict army rule.

The debate over constitutional reform, however, has been muted since the assassination in January last year of a lawyer advising government leader Aung San Suu Kyi's ruling party on the issue.

"As we build the democratic federal republic, in accordance with the results of the political dialogues, we all need to work collectively for creating a suitable Constitution," President Htin Kyaw said in his speech marking the 70th anniversary of Myanmar's independence from Britain.

Mr Htin Kyaw's post is largely ceremonial but he is a close ally of Ms Suu Kyi. He did not elaborate on what he meant by suitable or spell out why he was suggesting the 2008 Constitution drawn up by the military was unsuitable.

The Constitution bars Ms Suu Kyi from becoming president because it rules out candidates with a foreign spouse or child. - REUTERS

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