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Myanmar says writing of draft constitution completed

Myanmar says writing of draft constitution completed

Myanmar's military government announced the completion of the writing of the country's new draft constitution.
State radio and television said Tuesday the 54-member Constitution Drafting Commission finished the draft after working on it for more than two months, but the text of the document was not made public.
The junta announced earlier this month that the draft will be submitted to a national referendum in May.
Government critics have called the constitutional process undemocratic because it has been closely directed by the military with no input from independent parties.
Authorities have said the new charter would lead to a general election in 2010, and replace one scrapped when the current junta took power in 1988.
Chief Justice and Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission, Aung Toe, announced the charter's completion Tuesday evening on state radio and televis ion news broadcasts.
Aung Toe said the draft was drawn up with the objective of ensuring a leading role in politics for the military, which has always insisted that it alone can hold the country's many fractious ethnic groups together.
Guidelines used to draft the new charter also bar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from national office because she was married to a foreigner _ her late British husband, Michael Aris _ and enjoyed the privileges of a foreign national.
The rules and mechanisms for the referendum and how the draft will be publicized for public scrutiny have not been announced.
The junta's seven-stage road map to democracy had been proceeding at a snail's pace since mass pro-democracy demonstrations last year.
The country's last election was held in 1990, but the military refused to hand over power to the winner _ the National League for Democracy party of detained Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been in prison or under house arrest for more than 12 of the past 18 years.
The country has been in a political deadlock since the military refused to recognize the election results, saying after the polls that the country first needed a new constitution. It harassed and arrested members of the pro-democracy movement, particularly from Suu Kyi's party.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been under international pressure to make democratic reforms, especially since it violently quashed peaceful protests last September. The U.N. estimates at least 31 people were killed and thousands more were detained in the crackdown.
Guidelines for a new constitution were adopted by a National Convention last year after 14 years of on-and-off meetings.
Critics denounced the constitutional convention process as a stage-managed farce because the military hand-picked most delegates and because Suu Kyi is under house arrest and could not attend.
The government insists it will make democratic reforms only according to its own seven-step plan, previously describing its goal as "discipline-flourishing genuine multiparty democracy."
On Monday the National League for Democracy denounced the junta's announcement of a constitutional referendum and general election as undemocratic.
The junta's plans would aggravate the country's "political, economic and social woes" and would not lead to "meaningful political dialogue and the national reconciliation process," the NLD said in a statement.
The party stopped short, however, of advocating a boycott or a "no" vote for the draft constitution.


Updated : 2021-10-19 07:46 GMT+08:00