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Opposition party to wait on 2010 decision

Apr 29, 2009 (DVB), Burma's main political opposition party will wait to see if there is democratic progress made by the government before deciding on whether to contest the elections scheduled for March next year.

A plenary meeting called yesterday by the National League for Democracy, whose leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest, discussed the possibility of participating in the elections, which many have already labeled unfair.

"The results of discussions of [the prevailing political situation] and [draft constitution] will decide whether the NLD will participate in the upcoming national elections," said NLD chairman Aung Shwe.

Critics have said the draft constitution, ratified by the government last year in the weeks following cyclone Nargis, guarantees entrenchment of military rule.

Burma has been ruled by a military dictatorship since a coup in 1962 led by Ne Win.

"The present draft constitution has many flaws and the constitution's main objectives is for the propagation of military rule in this country, and therefore is not acceptable," Aung Shwe said.

NLD central committee member Win Tin, who was released from prison last September after serving 19 years, said that while the party were open to dialogue, they would not lose sight of their goals.

"[Our policies] will change or move due to circumstances and time, but we can’t let all our policies be deviated, changed or revised or destroyed," he said.

"We can’t accept the kind of dictatorial system which is ruled with orders and power and without the consent of the public."

The plenary meeting was attended by over 150 party organizers, members of parliament, and central executive committee members.

Diplomats from countries such as United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy also attended.

Reporting by Nay Htoo


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