Shan party urges "No" vote for genuine democracy

Apr 21, 2008 (DVB)-The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy has called on the Shan people to vote against the draft constitution in the 10 May referendum, saying it does not guarantee democratic or ethnic rights.

SNLD spokesperson U Sai Lek told DVB that the party was opposed to the constitution as its elected representatives had not been involved in the drafting process.

"Since the constitution was written by delegates handpicked by the SPDC authorities, it has nothing to do with the SNLD," Sai Lek said.

"If the people want to see a situation where the SPDC regime continues to benefit then they should vote 'Yes'. But, if the people prefer genuine democracy, then they should vote 'No'," he said.

"We believe that the people are capable of making the right decision."

When asked what the party could do before the referendum, Sai Lek said the party had made some preparations but could not discuss them because of the current restrictive political climate.

The SNLD received the second highest number of votes in the 1990 elections, winning 23 seats.

The SNLD is a key political ally of the National League for Democracy and is the only elected ethnic political party with an official standing.

The party's operations have been hampered since SNLD chairperson U Khun Tun Oo, secretary U Nyunt Lwin and other party leaders were imprisoned in 2005.

Reporting by DVB

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