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The Constitution of Burma has changed several times since the country became independent from the United Kingdom. Burma's third and current constitution was promulgated in 2008.




1948 Constitution

Burma had its first constitution immediately after independence in 1948; this charter established a bicameral legislature.[1]

1974 Constitution

The 1974 constitution was its second one which created a unicameral legislature.[1] Ne Win became the president at this time.

2008 Constitution

Constitution of Myanmar of 2008.pdf

On 9 April 2008, the military government of Burma released its proposed constitution for the country to be put to a vote in public referendum on 10 May 2008. The constitution is hailed by the military as heralding a return to democracy, but the opposition see it as a tool for continuing military control of the country. In the Nationally Assembly (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw) the military (Tatmadaw) member delegates are reserved a maximum of 56 out of 224 seats in the House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw) elected by the regions and states, and 110 seats out of 440 in the People's Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw) elected based on population.[2] This was similar to past Indonesian and Thai constitutions. Foreign media often incorrectly allege that the constitution bars Aung San Suu Kyi from holding public office because of her marriage to a British citizen;[2] in fact, she would only be bared from the office of President, as having a spouse or children who are foreign citizens is an explicit disqualification. There is no similar disqualification for any other public office.

2008 constitutional referendum

On 10 May 2008[3] a referendum was held to outline the political framework of the country. According to Chief Justice Aung Toe, who is chairman of the drafting commission,

In drafting the constitution, the commission adhered strictly to the six objectives, including giving the Tatmadaw (the military) the leading political role in the future state.[4]

The government did not allow Cyclone Nargis to delay the referendum which took place as scheduled (except in the delta areas affected by the cyclone.[5][6]

Reaction in Burma

The National League for Democracy had not been allowed to contribute to the creation of the constitution.[7] The group that is led by Aung San Suu Kyi urged citizens to reject[8] the constitution which it labeled as a "sham."


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