Myanmar achieved some important developments in 2013 with a new political culture emerging within Myanmar society where different political groups avoided direct confrontation and instead overcame challenges through negotiation and dialogue, said President U Thein Sein in his new year speech to the nation on Thursday.
U Thein Sein described the country's reform process as stronger, attributing the achievement to the governments' working collaboratively on various issues.
One of the achievements he pointed out was the grand hosting of the 27th South-East Asian Games in December, the first successful regional games hosted on Myanmar soil in 44 years.
On political changes domestically, he said political groups within a short time have been able to participate in a meaningful manner in a political system created by the 2008 Constitution.
He called for working towards increasing political vibrancy by improving participation and citizens' political rights.
Over the past year, political groups were seen organizing constitutional amendment activities.
A parliamentary Committee to Study and Amend the Constitution was canvassing for comments from the public and various organizations. The army has also submitted its proposals and comments to the Committee in addition to political parties and civil societies.
The president pinpointed for the first time that the main political group, the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and other political parties have also actively organized forums and meetings to discuss constitutional amendments, saying that these activities have been held in a free and open manner and showing that the level of political maturity in the country has risen.
He underlined the positive development of free expression of opinions through news media and social networks.
With regard to the constitutional amendment issue, the president insisted that "a healthy Constitution must be amended from time to time to address the national, economic, and social needs of our society."
He stressed the need for constitutional amendment for national reconciliation which is the foundation of the national peace process.
He also emphasized the need to amend the provision on the qualification of the political leadership of the country, holding that he would not want restrictions being imposed on the right of any citizen to become the leader of the country. He called for
all necessary measures in place to defend national interests and sovereignty.
He urged to choose to do the right things in order not to fall into political impasse in trying to solve the ongoing political differences.
On the ongoing peace talks with ethnic armed groups, he expected an early beginning of political dialogue once final negotiations are over.
Noting that in 2014, Myanmar will take over the chair of the regional grouping ASEAN, he called for efforts to ensure success of the chairmanship of ASEAN through the joint efforts of the people.
In keeping with his promise, the president has freed all remaining political prisoners at the end of 2013.