Book Launch: The Constitution of Myanmar

From 15-16 March, the ANU will host the biennial Myanmar Update in Canberra. As part of this event a book launch of “The Constitution of Myanmar” will be launched. Dr Nick Cheesman and Dr Björn Dressel from ANU will offer comments on the book followed by comments from the author, Melissa Crouch from the University of New South Wales.

The event will be held at 12:30pm in Seminar Rooms A & B, China in the World Building, Fellows Lane, ANU.

This timely and accessible book is the first to provide a thorough analysis of the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar in its historical, political and social context. The book offers an in-depth exploration of the key elements of the 2008 Constitution in theory and practice. The book identifies and articulates the principles of the Constitution through an analysis of legal and political processes since the 1990s. It highlights critical constitutional contestations that have taken place over fundamental ideas such as democracy, federalism, executive-legislative relations, judicial independence and the role of the Tatmadaw (armed forces). This book suggests that the 2008 Constitution facilitates the co-existence of civilian and military authorities in the form of a military-state. Distinct from direct military rule, the military-state promotes the leadership role of the military in governance, based on a set of ideological commitments and organised in the form of a highly centralised Union. The constitutional vision offered by the 2008 Constitution and its associated institutions have been the subject of fierce contestation. Not least is the debate over the militarisation of the state through direct and indirect means. Central to the future of the Constitution and the military-state in Myanmar is the role of the Tatmadaw, and the extent to which the country may shift from a highly centralised Union to a federal or decentralised system of governance.