The isolation of the Tatmadaw from society is because of the special privileges members of the military receive under the constitution, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said.

“If the Tatmadaw remains isolated from the people and is not one with the people, it is not good for the Tatmadaw or for the country,” she said.

The opposition leader said that under the constitution, all important matters of state could be decided by the Tatmadaw.

This included a virtual veto which appointed military MPs in the Union parliament had over amendments to the constitution and the composition of the National Defence and Security Council, on which members of the Tatmadaw outnumber those from the legislature and the administration.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi noted that any amendments to the constitution needed the support of more than 75 percent of the Union parliament, in which 25 percent of the seats were held by appointed members of the military.

“So any vote to amend the constitution would require the support of at least one of the military members of parliament, who are appointed by the Commander-in-Chief,” she said.

“We must ask how much this constitution values the people?” she said.

“Do the people have the right to make decisions about important affairs of the state?”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the future of democratic reform depended on whether the Tatmadaw really wanted to amend the constitution.

“If they genuinely support democracy it will be demonstrated by whether they support the reform of a constitution that is contrary to democratic principles,” she said.