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Referendum to be held on 10 May

Apr 10, 2008 (DVB), The Burmese government's Commission for Holding Referendum has announced that the national referendum on the draft constitution will be held on 10 May, state media reported today.

The Commission passed a resolution confirming the referendum date at a meeting chaired by chief justice U Aung Toe in Naypyidaw yesterday.

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

Burmese opposition groups, foreign governments and international organisations have denounced the planned referendum and criticised the constitution drafting process for not allowing the participation of all groups.

The terms of the constitution, which reserve 25 percent of parliamentary seats for the military and would exclude detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from running for office due to her marriage to a foreigner, have also met with widespread condemnation.

Pro-democracy activists have generally called on the Burmese people to vote against the constitution, with some advocating sabotage or a boycott of the referendum, while the government has been widely campaigning for a "Yes" vote.

Reporting by Siân Thomas


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