YANGON: Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday vowed to press for greater autonomy for Myanmar’s ethnic minorities, in an early move to soothe the rebellions roiling the country after her party’s ascent to power.
Myanmar has been swept up in optimism for a more peaceful and prosperous future since the National League for Democracy (NLD) took power on April 1, ending nearly a half century of military domination.
But Suu Kyi warned its prospects hinge on ending ethnic conflicts that have blistered the country since its independence in 1948.
To do so, the NLD government would seek “a real federal democratic union”, the democracy figurehead said in a televised address marking Myanmar’s New Year.
“Peace and a federal democratic union are closely intertwined and that’s why we need to change the constitution. The most important thing is national reconciliation.”
They were Suu Kyi’s first major comments as “state counsellor” — a role she took on following the handover to her civilian-led government.
The current charter, penned by the military in 2008, centralises state power.
The former junta in part justified its tight control of the country with fears that ethnic divisions would fracture the nation.
But the concept of federalism has gradually become central to peace discussions steered by the quasi-civilian government that replaced outright military rule in 2011.
Negotiations, which do not include all rebel groups, have yet to agree on exactly how powers such as policing or revenue raising might be shifted to regional authorities under a federal system.