Lawyer counsels way out for Wa statehood demand

A Chin lawyer Salai Marn has recommended that the solution for the United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s persistent call for a separate statehood is to enact a provision in the constitution how new states could be formed.

Book cover: Seven sections in the constitution ethnic peoples want to change
In the 57 page booklet “Seven sections in the constitution ethnic peoples want to change,” he says: (Apart from Wa) other ethnic peoples whose population have increased and who have sufficiently developed may want to establish own separate states. For them, Chapter 2. State Structure should provide further clauses as to what requirements an aspiring state/region must fulfill.”

The Wa that had joined the Federated Shan States to form the Shan State as part of the Union of Burma  in 1948 has been calling for a separate statehood since 1993.

“More serious than the Wa statehood is Naypyitaw that has been inconspicuously moving toward a new regionhood,” he cautions.

Other amendments suggested by the lawyer are:
•    Election of state/regional chief ministers
•    Curtailment of Union Legislative List
•    Removal of military representatives from state/regional legislative assemblies
•    Making more citizens eligible to run for President
•    Provision of separate legislative power for the Upper House, and
•    Reduction of the number of representatives from regions (but not from states) in the Upper House*

*It is interesting to note here that Drs. David and Susan Williams, US-based Center for Constitutional Democracy, had instead suggested that the number of regions, and not the number of representatives from regions, should be reduced so to increase the relative power of the states.

“Only when 50%, if not all, of the amendment demands of the people are met, there can be a win-win solution,” Salai Marn writes in the booklet’s foreword.

The author is said to be based in the United States, according to a source from the lawyers circle.


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