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NLD issues referendum guidelines

Apr 4, 2008 (DVB), The National League for Democracy has issued guidelines on the upcoming national referendum, and laid out its reasons for urging people to vote against the constitution.

NLD special information unit member U Thein Nyunt said the party had called on people to vote against the constitution because it was not written in accordance with democratic principles, but instead reflected the military regime's own priorities.

The NLD guidelines advise people on the practicalities of voting in the referendum, including registering to vote and information on the polling stations.

The party also summarizes some of the key points it opposes in the draft constitution, such as the requirement for the president and vice president to have military knowledge and the allotting of 25 percent of parliamentary seats to the military.

The constitution also reportedly calls for civilian representatives to give up their seat in parliament if they take up a ministerial post, a requirement that does not apply to military representatives.

In addition, all armed forces are required to be under the control of the military chief, who is authorised to take power in a state of emergency under the draft, the NLD said.

Noting the campaigns run by the government and Union Solidarity and Development Association to encourage people to vote Yes in the referendum, Thein Nyunt said NLD should also have the right to mount their own campaign.

The NLD released a statement on 2 April calling on people to vote No in the national referendum in May.

A number of other pro-democracy groups have also urged people to vote against the constitution, while some have called for a boycott or sabotage of the referendum.

The government and its supporters have been using incentives and pressure to convince voters to support the constitution.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw and Aye Nai


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