NLD calls for publication of convention principles

Feb 22, 2008 (DVB), National League for Democracy spokesperson U Nyan Win has criticised the junta for not making public the national convention principles, despite claims by the chief justice that they were available.

U Nyan Win said that the book of principles mentioned by the chief justice did not seem to be publicly available.

"The book featuring the principles of the national convention, which the Chairman of National Convention Convening Work Committee, chief justice U Aung Toe, said was available, is nowhere to be found as of 2pm on 21 February," he said.

"So we have still had no chance to find out what’s in it."

U Aung Toe said on 19 February that, "a book featuring the fundamental principles and detailed basic principles has been published", and also claimed they had been publicised on radio and television.

The chief justice said that the constitution, which was approved by the Commission for Drafting the State Constitution on 19 February, was drafted in accordance with these principles.

Burmese foreign minister U Nyan Win stated recently at a dinner cruise for Association of South-East Asian Nations foreign ministers in Singapore that Burmese people who have married foreign nationals are excluded from running for office.

"According to Burma’s 1974 basic constitution, a Burmese national who is married to a foreigner or has children who are not of Burmese nationality cannot be allowed to participate in the national elections," foreign minister U Nyan Win said.

If such a clause is also included in the new constitution, this would bar NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from standing for election, a possibility that has been widely criticised.

NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win said that the foreign minister's remarks were irrelevant given that Burma does not currently have a valid constitution.

"The 1974 basic constitution was demolished in 1988, and today’s draft national constitution has not been fully approved yet," the NLD spokesperson said.

"If the remarks were based upon the 1974 constitution, then his remarks are not based on existing laws. We consider that this was only his personal opinion."

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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