Burmese exiled activists complete draft constitution

Feb 15, 2008 (DVB), As the Burmese government announces a May referendum on its draft constitution, Burmese democracy activists in exile say that they have completed an alternative constitution.

The Federal Constitution Drafting and Coordination Committee said today that it had adopted the second draft of its constitution for the "Federal Republic of the Union of Burma".

The committee now intends to put its draft before the people of Burma for discussion and feedback.

Hkun Okker, secretary-general of the National Democratic Front and deputy chairperson of the FCDCC negotiating committee, said that there were important differences between this constitution and the junta's draft.

"The obvious difference between the SPDC's policy on the constitution and ours is that the SPDC constitution says the military should control politics in the country, whereas we aim to bring in a system of government that is run by civilians elected in accordance with democratic principles," Hkun Okker said.

Hkun Okker said that the FCDCC constitution would also give equal status to all states and divisions in Burma.

"In the SPDC constitution, there are distinctions made between states and divisions, but we believe this kind of discrimination is not necessary in a true federal union," he said.

Hkun Okker said the committee now hoped to raise awareness of the constitution among Burmese people.

"We are going to conduct workshops, forums and educational projects to help Burmese people decide clearly whether the government's national referendum is right or wrong," he said.

"Burma's political problems have been drawn out for decades due to the lack of a strong and balanced constitutional system, which has led to civil wars and people sinking deeper into poverty," Hkun Okker said.

"So now we are trying to develop a constitutional system that is liked and accepted by the people of Burma."

The FCDCC was formed on 19 April 2005 and is made up of members of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, the National Council of the Union of Burma, the National Democratic Front, the United Nationalities League for Democracy, the Women's League of Burma, the Nationalities Youth Forum and the Students and Youth Congress of Burma.

Reporting by Maung Too

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