ABFSU joins calls to vote "No" in referendum

Apr 7, 2008 (DVB), The All Burma Federation of Student Unions has joined other pro-democracy groups in calling on the Burmese people to vote "No" in the constitutional referendum in May.

In a statement released on Friday, the ABFSU urged people to stand up to the pressure and manipulation by the military government by going to the polls to vote against the new constitution.

The statement said that only a constitution drawn up with the participation of all parties and ethnic groups would be respected by the public.

Ko Linn Htet Naing, an ABSFU leader, said the ruling State Peace and Development Council was an illegitimate government and therefore lacked the authority to draft a constitution.

"We are urging the people of Burma to vote 'No' against the SPDC referendum. They are the government that stole power from the people's hands, so they are not legitimate," he said.

"People have already appointed their representatives to write the basic constitution. The SPDC government with its twisted mind is trying to make changes to it and that can never be legitimate."

Linn Htet Naing said the group would encourage people to look out for any signs of vote-rigging.

"We have told our operatives and contacts to monitor the voting at the polling station where they go to vote and to keep reporting to the world any suspicious behaviour by the SPDC."

The ABFSU statement follows similar announcements by the National League for Democracy, the All-Burmese Monks Alliance, the 88 Generation Students group and others, who also called for a "No" vote.

Some other activists have called for a boycott of the referendum or urged action to stop it taking place.

The government and its supporters have been running a campaign of incentives and coercion to persuade people to vote in favour of the constitution.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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