Overview and context
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Nationally Determined Contribution (UNFCCC website)
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is a unitary presidential constitutional republic. The President is both the head of state and the head of government. The State Constitution was adopted in 2008 by national referendum and replaces two previous constitutions (1947 and 1974). It established the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (hereafter referred to as the National Parliament, although also known in English as the Assembly of the Union) the national bicameral legislature. It comprises two houses, which have five-year, simultaneous terms: the 224-seat upper house known as Amyotha Hluttaw (also known as the House of Nationalities or National Assembly, but hereafter referred to as the Upper House) and the 440-seat lower house known as Pyithu Hluttaw (also known as the House of Representatives or People’s Assembly, but hereafter referred to as the Lower House). The Upper House consists of 168 directly-elected seats relating to the regions and states and 56 military personnel nominated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services. The Lower House consists of 330 seats accorded to each township in Myanmar, with the remaining 110 allocated to military personnel nominated by the Commander-in-Chief. The executive branch of government is known as the Union Government, and the President forms a Cabinet of Union Ministers upon approval of these names by the National Parliament.
Myanmar is formed of 14 major administrative regions and states, each with their own local parliament comprising elected civilian members and military representatives (the latter comprising one third of all seats). There are also five self-administered zones and one self-administered division administered by a Leading Body that has both executive and legislative powers. Each Leading Body consists of at least 10 members and state or regional parliament members elected from the zones or divisions, as well as members nominated by the Defence Services. Finally, there is one union territory, Nay Pyi Taw (also known as Naypyidaw), the capital city, which is under the direct administration of the President. Day-to-day activities are carried out by the Nay Pyi Taw Council, whose members are appointed by the President and include civilians and military representatives.
Legislative power is shared among the National Parliament and the state and regional parliaments. The judiciary is independent of the executive branch. The National Parliament has the power to enact laws for the entire or any part of the union, including Nay Pyi Taw when necessary. Bills related to national plans, annual budgets or taxation must be submitted exclusively by the Union Government to the National Parliament and must be discussed and resolved exclusively at the National Parliament. All other bills may be submitted by Union-level organisations on matters that they administer and may be initiated and discussed at either the Upper House or the Lower House. If a bill initiated in the Upper or Lower House is approved by both Houses, it is deemed as approved overall by the National Parliament. If there is a disagreement between the Lower House and the Upper House, then it must be discussed and resolved in the National Parliament. Bills are either signed by the President or become law as if the President had signed it after 14 days. It is then published in the official gazette and becomes law on that date. Laws may subsequently be enacted by rules or policies released by the ministry in charge of the topic in question. Other types of policy, such as national plans, master plans or strategies, may have de facto legal status, particularly when there is no formal legal act implemented in the specific area.
The first election of the National Parliament occurred in 2010. Seats nominated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services are excluded from the electoral process. The next general election for the National Parliament took place in November 2015, following a by-election in late 2014 to fill 30 vacant parliamentary seats. The next general election is expected for 2020.