NLD slams late release of draft constitution

Apr 10, 2008 (DVB), The National League for Democracy has criticised the Burmese regime for releasing the draft constitution only one month before the national referendum is to be held.

NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win said the late release of the full text does not give people enough time to study it and make an informed decision.

"Coinciding with Referendum Commission chairman U Aung Toe’s announcement on the dates of the referendum, the text of the draft constitution is now available for the public to buy starting from today," he said.

"So there is only a little time for the people to study it before they vote on whether to approve it."

According to U Aung Toe's announcement, the referendum on the draft constitution will be held on 10 May.

The draft constitution was completed on 19 February, but it was not made available to the public.

Nyan Win said the party will continue with its "Vote No" campaign to encourage people to vote against the constitution.

"If people from the government side have a right to campaign for ‘Yes’ votes, we also should have the right to campaign for ‘No’ votes," Nyan Win said.

"It’s only fair that we get to call for ‘No’ votes when they get to call for their ‘Yes’ votes," he said.

"We are not violating the law by urging people to vote ‘No’. We will carry on with our campaign."

Under the government's referendum law introduced in February, campaigning against the referendum can be punishable by up to three years in prison.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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