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Myanmar lawmakers oust judges in 2008 charter row

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar -- Myanmar's parliament on Thursday ousted nine constitutional court judges in the culmination of a long-running standoff that observers say exposed growing political rivalry within the regime.

Three-quarters of lower house lawmakers voted to impeach the members of the Constitutional Tribunal, whose duties include interpreting provisions under a controversial 2008 charter drawn up by the former junta, and vetting new laws to ensure they conform with the text.

The upper house voted for the impeachment last month.

The row erupted after the court, in response to a request by President Thein Sein to study the issue, issued an order in February which limited the power of parliamentary committees and commissions to summon ministers for questioning.

It was seen as the country's first major political crisis since decades of military rule ended last year, pitting the government against the parliament — and in particular lower house speaker Shwe Mann, a top regime figure and former general considered a possible contender to replace Thein Sein when he retires.

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