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Myanmar democracy party says government's referendum plan hurts reconciliation prospects

Myanmar democracy party says government's referendum plan hurts reconciliation prospects

Myanmar's main pro-democracy party warned Thursday that the ruling military junta's planned constitutional referendum could hurt the nation's efforts toward political reconciliation.
Detained Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party was responding to the government's announcement Tuesday of a law establishing procedures for the referendum on a new constitution, and for setting up a 45-member commission to supervise the vote.
Earlier this month the junta announced plans for the May referendum and for general elections in 2010. The referendum's exact date has not been disclosed.
An NLD statement noted that the commission's members are hand-picked by the junta without outside consultation and said that caused a lack of confidence.
"The unilateral action of the authorities lacks the trust of the people and harms national reconciliation," it said.
The NLD won Myanmar's last general elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power. Instead, the military increased its repression of democracy advocates.
Government officials were not immediately available for comment on the NLD's statement. The junta has previously insisted that it has proceeded fairly with its so-called roadmap to democracy, which it says will lead to a "discipline-flourishing genuine multiparty" system. It accuses critics of trying to destabilize the country.
Myanmar, also called Burma, has been under international pressure to make democratic reforms, especially after it crushed peaceful mass protests last September. The United Nations estimates at least 31 people were killed and thousands more were detained in the crackdown.
The NLD statement said authorities have not released the text of the draft constitution. Guidelines for the constitution's drafting have been released and would allow the military to perpetuate its rule.


Updated : 2021-08-01 10:29 GMT+08:00