Further information

Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung im Web 2.0

Hanns Seidel Foundation Myanmar

Hanns Seidel Foundation Myanmar
Unit 7, Inya Lake Hotel
37 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel.: +95-1-667225 | Fax: +95-1-667454

Why Constitutions Matter and How Federalism Works

Dr. Soren Keil from the Canterbury Christ Church University (United Kingdom) and Dr. Rekha Oleschak-Pillai from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) during a lecture.

Phaunggyi (Lower Myanmar) - Between the 26th and 30th of September 2016 a one-week “Senior Level Official Management Course” was conducted at the Central Institute of Civil Service (CICS) in Phaunggyi.

In the one-week training 53 participants learned about “Law and Political Science: Federalism, Regionalism and Decentralization”, with an emphasis on “Design and Operation of Multi-Level Systems and Subnational Good Governance”.

The experts, Dr. Rekha Oleschak-Pillai from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Dr. Soren Keil from the Canterbury Christ Church University (United Kingdom), lectured about a range of topics related to federalism and facilitated group work. In the beginning of the week the experts presented “Basic Principles of Federalism”; “Why Constitutions Matter”; “Case Studies on Federalism” and “Conflict Management”. After the introductory presentations on federalism the experts lectured on more advanced topics such as “Fiscal Federalism” and “Distribution of Competences”.

Participants engaged in a discussion.

Throughout the workshop the civil servants split up in working groups and discussed topics in depth. After the group work sessions, group members presented their findings. Additionally, role plays were conducted. Especially the topics “Fiscal Federalism” and “Distribution of Competences” raised many questions and brought up a heated discussion among the participants. In one of the discussions a participant stated: “The local level should have more power and competences- that would help to reduce corruption!” Several participants agreed. Another heated discussion was about a possible change of the constitution. Currently 25% of the parliamentarian seats are reserved for the military. A woman said: “There is the right place for the right people” while others were doubting “If Myanmar people would like to amend the constitution.” However, as a participant noted: “Parts of current constitution stand in the way of democratization.”

Participants presenting their group work results.

In a closing remark Leander Ketelhodt, Programme Manager of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, highlighted the importance of trust among the different actors in a federal state. Trust can fasten the peace process and help in the country’s development. Trust building is crucial.