THE OBSERVATIONS OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY ON THE NATIONAL CONVENTION
Full text of the statement delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi at her press
A State constitution is a contract between the people and
the government of a nation. Only a constitution that is willingly accepted by
the people will endure the test of time. The National League for Democracy
believes that if genuine multi-party democracy is to be established in
The NLD was founded with the aim of achieving a genuine
democratic system which accords with the will of the people, and of
constructing a strong and lasting Union of Burma. It believes that the ultimate
power of state derives from the people and that in a democratic nation there
should be rule of law and a constitution that guarantees basic human rights,
including freedom of worship, freedom of speech and expression and freedom of
association. Further, as stated in its election manifesto, the NLD believes
that the foundation for a strong, lasting and prosperous union has to be laid
through a National Convention where all the ethnic groups of
The overwhelming success of the NLD in the elections of 1990 was an endorsement by the people of its principles and policies.
The State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) has said it wishes to establish multi-party
Slorc declaration number 1/90 of
On 18 October 1990, Slorc secretary(1) confirmed in a speech made at the KyunChaung fertilizer plant that it was the duty of political parties and elected representatives to draw up the State Constitution. During the preliminary discussions on the National Convention the chairman of the National Convention Convening Committee also stated that the elected representatives would be responsible for drawing up the constitution and that decisions based on the presentations of delegates would be arrived at through a democratic process.
Political parties were made to sign an undertaking to abide by the terms of declaration 1/90 which remains valid to this day. However the National Convention has not been conducted in accordance with the terms of the declaration. The role of political parties, clearly delineated in the declaration, has been obfuscated.
An examination of actual conditions within the National Convention reveals that there has been a shift a way from its original declared aims. The following are some of the features of the present convention:
The elected representatives of the people constitute only 15.24 per cent of the delegates and thus are permanently in the minority.
Neither the objectives of the Convention nor its working procedures were drawn up in consultation with delegates.
Papers to be presented at the Convention are censored and have to be corrected in accordance with the wishes of the authorities.
Decisions are laid down before an issue has been fully discussed.
The Convention is making decisions not only on broad principles for the proposed constitution but also on its details.
There is no fixed timetable for the Convention.
The NLD as the political party that has received the mandate of the people has a duty to point out that its expectations with regard to the National Convention have not been realized. The work procedures of the Convention are not democratic and the basic principles for the proposed constitution include some which are not consonant with a truly Democratic State. These problems can only be resolved through dialogue. The NLD invites all concerned to join together in mutual trust and goodwill to work towards building up genuinely Democratic Nation in accordance with the wishes of the people.
If the National Convention continues in its present form it cannot assist in achieving national reconciliation, genuine multi-party democracy, or a state constitution that enjoys the support and confidence of the people. These aims can only be achieved through discussion and dialogue.
The National Convention in its present form is not
acceptable to the people of