The Manifesto

of the

National League for Democracy

on Multi-Party Democracy General Election



1.  Throughout the Union of Burma in 1988 there was an extraordinary and unprecedented uprising of all people.  They rose up to demand Democracy.  Thus, a democratic state was established in order to be liberated from the bitter experience of the society.


2.  Now, a chance to establish a democratic system began to emerge that would totally change society.  Hence, all the people of Burma, with active spirit and strong determination, would have to elect the peoples' representatives.  Those representatives would form a democratic government in accordance with the aspiration of the people and draw up the state constitution that will enable a successful reconstruction of the country.


3.  The National League for Democracy firmly believes that, today, in Burma, the masses of people are earnestly aspiring for the formation of a Democratic government that will guarantee basic human rights.


4.  The National League for Democracy clearly understands that all the people of Burma are very keen to establish a firmly united "Union" in the near future with equal rights for all ethnic nationalities who cherish democracy.


5.  In order to bring about the aims and aspirations of the people successfully, the National League for Democracy, consisting of people wishing to represent farmers, workers, merchants and entrepreneurs, students, youths, women, technicians, academicians, artists and ethnic nationalities, shall let their members participate in this multi-party General Election and pledges to accept the decision of the people.


6.  The National League for Democracy, while declaring its principles and policy below, shall accept the wishes of the people and establish a democratic state as desired by the people.




7.  As the Union of Burma is a member of United Nations, we shall practice the democratic rules of conduct as stated in the United Nations Charter.  With a firm principle that, not only we, but our future generations also, will never lose democratic rights.  We must firmly lay down the democratic foundation.


(a) The power of a state must be derived from the people.


(b) Totalitarianism and other political systems that oppress the people must never be allowed to flourish.


(c) In establishing state power through multi-party general elections, every adult citizen must have the right to vote and to elect their representatives in accordance with the basic principle of democracy.


(d) We believe that for political parties, apart from working diligently for the country, must also take up responsibility of being a political nurturing ground.  A political party must sow the seeds and nurture seedlings, cultivating leaders for future generations.  They must also act as a bridge connecting the public at large to the Executive and Legislative branches of the stand, and to be a tool with the ability to limit the unjust abuse of power by any authoritative persons or organizations.


(e) Free and fair elections, which are the cornerstones of a democratic state, create a base rooted in democracy in which the social life of all the nation's people can develop.  The people, who are the primary owners of state power, must have discipline and must not violate the interests of others.  According to the rule of law, every citizen must be free to fully enjoy his basic rights such as, freedom of belief, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom to organize and freedom to earn a living.


(f) The constitution shall distinctly guaranteed basic human rights.  Laws shall be adopted allowing one to sue any person for violating human rights under the constitution or specified act.


8.  According to the will of the people the "Pyithu Hluttaw" has emerged and been established in accordance with the law.  The sovereign power of this "Hluttaw" is ablsolute.


9.  The sovereign power of "Pyithu Hluttaw" shall be practiced without reservation, in accordance with the following principles:


(a) There are three independent sectors, i.e., the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.  Each sector must exist independently without interfering with one another.


(b) In working to enact, amend or abolish any laws, it must be independent and in conformity with humanitarianism, having justice and equality.


(c) The administrative machine must not be an apparatus to oppress the people.  It must be a machine with the ability to manage and safeguard the interests of the people.


(d) Every citizen shall be equal before the law, irrespective of national or social origin, religion, social status, political opinion, language, sex, age, colour or race and no infringement shall be made of those basic human rights.  For example:


(i) The judiciary branch of the government, which must protect basic rights as guaranteed by the constitution, must have standing equal to that of the Legislative and Executive branch of the government and must be independent of them.


(ii) The Supreme Court must have independence from and absolute authority over all other judicial courts under its jurisdiction.


(iii) The adjudication process must be made public.  The accused must have full rights with which to defend himself in accordance with the law.


(iv) All judges must have the right to adjudicate independently.  There must be no external intervention.


Foreign Affairs


10.  To adopt independent foreign policy in international relations.


(a) Any state must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states.  They must have policies of non-aggression, non-intervention, equality, mutual benefits and peaceful co-existence, which are the Five Points Principle of the Peaceful Co-existence of States laid down at the Bandung Conference (Indonesia) in 1955.  For neighbouring countries, they should have a good neighbourly relationship, establish mutual understanding, and develop co-operation for mutual benefit.


(b) To avoid isolationism and be in an active position to stand firmly for on its principles regarding world affairs.


(c) To actively participate in any international organizations having the same aims and objectives, and to co-operate particularly with regional organizations and projects with regional interest and the interest in the country.


(d) Shall have firm and close relations with the United Nations, World Bank, IMF ...  etc.


National Defense


11.       (a) The army is born from the people.  The army must respect and abide by the constitution of the state.  It must stand with the people and must be an institution the people can depend on.  The army must be free from party politics and loved by the people.


(b) Strategically, a modern army must be established in accordance with the geographical location of the Union of Burma.


(c) Suitable arrangements are to be made for fallen military personnel and their families, as well as war veterans and their families.




12.  The National League for Democracy believes that the Party that takes responsibility of the new government elected by "Pyithu Hluttaw" will not be able to foresee the financial problems it will have to face.  But for the moment, emphasis should be made for short-term economic development.  Thus:


(a) Shall give priority for the stability of prices, finance, and jobs, and to work to insure people have confidence in the domestic currency;


(b) To lay down suitable policies for finance and currency, and manage the government's budget properly;


(c) To revise the exchange rates between Burmese currency and foreign currencies and change it as deemed necessary.


(d) Priority shall be given to the import of goods that will benefit energy refill fuels, transport vehicles and for the falling of prices.


(e) In exports, to encourage goods of various kinds, to be exported as much as possible.


(f) To revise and amend foreign investment laws for setting multiple increases in foreign investment.


(g) To strive for the reduction of foreign debts and to once again receive foreign aid.


(h) To revise the laws, circulate orders, rules and regulations and the management system, that restricted economic enterprises, and some will be amended, and some are to be abolished, as seemed fit.


(i) The present various types of revenue system shall be revised and amended to benefit the private enterprises.


(j) Various enterprises of economic sector must completely base itself on the market economy.  Special encouragement shall be made for a quick development of private enterprises.


(k) To encourage tourist industry for further development and smooth running.


Enterprises concerning industry, energy, construction, mines and the service industry


13.       (a) The nationalized economic enterprises that are included in all the above sectors of economy, shall be given back to their original owners respectively and for those enterprises whose original owners can no longer take responsibity for them, the state shall try and get the economic expertise and financial investment to continue to run the business.

(b) The business enterprises will not be nationalized.  There will be no demonetizations of currency.


(c) The productions and sales of minerals and gems Act shall be prescribed.  Permit for joint-venture enterprises and private enterprises shall be granted.


(d) With the exception of some enterprises, if immediately abandoned, could cause devastation to domestic economy and increase unemployment shall be retained, the remaining nationalized enterprises shall be abolished and privatized.  For the nationalized factories and industries, that cannot be immediately abolished or privatized, reform work shall be made with respect to investment and constitution in accordance with situation of present era.  Unnecessary expense shall be strictly prohibited.


(e) To work toward deferring external debt that must be repaid and to get international financial aid once again to reconstruct the country.


(f) Shall allow foreign investment that will benefit the development of the country's economy, according to the principles of a market economy.


(g) The state shall take responsibility for all the currency that is legally printed and distributed so that the people may have total confidence in the currency.


(h) Shall strive for the widespread use of modern technology and technical know how, in construction of a new state with respect to education sector for the new generation, trade and commerce sector, as well as mass education and other agriculture-dependant enterprises.


Transport and Communication


14.       (a) Reform shall be made, concerning transport and communication, as much as possible, in order to allow for a smooth flowing of goods.  This will be done in the hopes that prices will then fall.


(b) The work on roads, transport and communication shall be extended for the regions that are still politically, economically and socially backward.


(c) The necessary reform work shall be extended to provide smooth and fast communication.


(d) Joint-Venture aviation enterprises shall be established with foreign companies.




15.  The following farming policies shall be implemented for the economic development in this sector.

(a) Every farmer, working for farming has right to own land and to transfer it and to prevent the revival of feudal system by law.


(b) The minimum prices for farming products, on one hand, must cover the basic production cost and the cost of living for farmers, and on the other hand, the domestic prices of the farming products shall have to be adjusted with the international market price.


(c) Farmers shall be given the right to cultivate, to store their farming products, to grind their seeds and to sell and transport their goods.


(d) Considering the economic situation, the agriculture bank system that shall give long and short-term loans to farmers for reforming their lands and other expense of land management shall be extended.


(e) Considering the economic situation, all possible arrangements shall be made for farmers to get enough fertilizers.


(f) Aid and encouragement will be provided for easy access to high-yield seed varieties and their cultivation.


(g) With a well adjusted budget, arrangement must be made for the farmers to obtain enough chemical fertilizers.


(h) Considering the economic situation, priority shall be given to the production of mechanical accessories for agriculture and technology concerning industrial farming.


(i) The farming industry shall not be restricted only to the production of paddy and industrial raw materials.  The farming industry will encourage farmers to alter their farming system by growing other grain crops that yield more foreign currency.


(j) Permits for extending cultivated land or virgin soil to the private farming industry for long-term plantation purposes shall be granted.


(k) In looking forward to the progress of modern agricultural technicians, for raising the standard of their skill, they will be encouraged to acquire more knowledge.


(l) The Land nationalization Act, Rent for the Cultivation of Land Act and the Protection of Farmers Rights Act shall be revised.




16.  For the development of forestry in Burma, the following principles shall be adopted.


(a) The state shall make a special plan to reserve the forests and protect the environment to prevent deforestation.


(b) A systematic plan shall be made to let the people use timbers and other forest products for their household needs.


(c) Systematic management of the extraction of teak and other basic hard wood timbers will be established.  Provisions for selling these forest products abroad will be established after consulting with experts.


(d) The policies for plantation, production and sale of hard wood for domestic use, other forest products and timber for industrial raw materials shall be revised and extended.


(e) Expansion and review of cultivation and timber distribution practices for domestic and industrial use.


(f) Contact shall be made with foreign organizations or institutions to obtain machinery, spare parts, accessories and advanced scientific technology.


(g) Rules and regulations shall be laid down for entrepreneurs and working people who rely on the forests and forest products, to let them use the forest on a small scale.


(h) Arrangements will be made to allow privately owned saw mills to produce finished goods from forest products.  They will be given the right to distribute and sell these products both inside and outside the country according to the law that shall be adopted.




17.  For the development of the fishing industry, for the nourishment of the people, to prevent the extinction of fish, near and far from seacoast, and for preserving the fishery profession, the following work shall be done.


(a) Steps shall be taken to encourage private enterprises to extend domestic fish and livestock breeding.


(b) Priority shall be granted to private enterprises for all fishing business near and far from the seacoast.  Regarding the work that private enterprises cannot do, state co-operatives and joint venture system shall be established.


(c) The NLD shall negotiate with the international bodies to get the necessary technical aid to produce finished fishery goods and to export the goods abroad.


(d) The production of tin provisions, the work to receive technology for producing high quality goods, and the use of up to date ships for coastal fishing shall be encouraged.




18        (a) In basic education, compulsory education system up to the primary level and free tuition education system shall be implemented stage by stage, in accordance with the prevailing circumstances.


(b) To separate the teaching of vocational education from high tech education.


(c) In order to modernize the country in each and every respective sector, and for raising the standard of universities and colleges, more state scholars shall be sent abroad.  Expertise from abroad shall be invited.


(d) The co-ordination of teachers, parents and students shall be practiced, beginning from basic education up to university, in compliance with the principles of education laid down by the state.




19        (a) Plan shall be made principally for public health, especially geared toward prevention as deemed necessary.


(b) Special attention shall be given for government hospitals to receive sufficient medicine to treat diseases.


(c) To assure government hospitals, currently being degenerated in every aspect, to become well equipped.


(d) Permission shall also be granted to open private clinics for the public in accordance with the law.


(e) Shall encourage private health insurance enterprises.


(f) The state shall encourage athletics and physical fitness for the public and give necessary training to athletes, so that they may be able to participate in international games and tournaments with high standard.


(g) The state shall contact and co-operate with international health organizations and foreign experts to obtain the latest medical technology.


Social Welfare


20.       (a) The state shall pay special attention to take care of orphans, delinquent minors and abandoned children.  The government will give them education and create vocational opportunities for them.


(b) The government and private donors shall make a joint effort to care for the elderly.


(c) Regarding the care of women, the government shall give support as deemed necessary.


(d) The government shall co-operate and work together with private donors for the welfare of the public.




21.       (a) to maintain and foster national culture and traditions.


(b) To co-operate with and participate in international cultural exchange programs.


Ethnic Nationalities


22.  Equal rights must be enjoyed by all ethnic nationalities.  In addition:


(a) All ethnic nationalities shall look forward to unity, solidarity, peace and progress of the Union;


(b) The state shall work towards the principle of equal rights for all the nationalities.  Based on this principle, no special privileges, hindrances or restrictions shall be placed upon the ethnic nationalities preventing them from enjoying equal rights and privileges.


(c) Shall strive to all assure that all the ethnic nationalities have the right to self-determination with respect to all fields such as politics, administration and economic management, in accordance with the law.


(d) Before the establishment of a new constitution, as an interim program, the "Pyi Thu Hluttaw" shall prescribe law and form the authoritative body for the presently existing states.


(e) Shall look forward to all nationalities joining hands to work together.  They will co-operate by helping and supporting each other for the benefit of the development of the entire Union, respective states and regions.


(f) Upon successful establishment of a democratic system, after having firmly laid down the foundation of a democratic society, a national co-ordination convention, similar to that of the Pinlon Conference, shall be convened.  This convention shall firmly lay down the future guiding principles of the Union to assure unity and solidarity among all the ethnic nationalities.


(g) All ethnic nationalities have the right to maintain and develop their languages, literature, culture and traditions.


(h) Ethnic nationalities shall work together to consolidate the sovereignty of the Union of Burma, and work to develop all aspects of the country such as its political and social structure, its economy, education system, health services and regional development.


Ending to Armed Struggle


23 Based on the principle that sovereignty of the Union of Burma must be consolidated, the unity of all the ethnic nationalities should be established so democracy can flourish.  In the future democracy all ethnic nationalities will enjoy equal political, economic and social rights, and will be able to participate in reconstruction of the deteriorating situation in the country.  The armed struggle that has been carrying on unceasingly for more than forty years must be stopped by resolving the problems through political means.


24.  For promoting productions and raising the living standards of both formers and workers, and for cultivating the lives of youths and students to develop physically, mentally and culturally, the following means to organize themselves shall be encouraged:- 


(a) Farmers; The forming of a Farmer's Union shall be encouraged.  It is necessary for this Union to be free from party politics.  It must be a single, consolidated union.  Each member of the Union, as a individual, has the right to participate in any party he pleases.


(b) Workers and servicemen; Labour for workers and servicemen should be organised.  It is necessary to form this union in accordance with the rules as prescribed be the Convention of International Labour Unions.  The Union must be a consolidated organisation, free from party politics.  These Unions have the right to demand legal rights for workers within the framework of the law.  In addition:  (1) Appointing and promoting service personnel must be carried out in a just and fair fashion.  Positions should be allocated according to the level of the candidate's qualifications.  In this process, the abuse of power where those in authority give special preference to some individuals must be strictly prohibited.


(2) The technicians and intelligentsia shall be appointed at the national level, according to the requirements of the state.  Workers shall be allowed to work in foreign countries as long as they abide by certain conditions.


(3) Reconsideration shall be made for the aggrieved servicemen or for various other reasons.


(4) The resolution of conflicts between entrepreneurs and workers must be fair and in accordance with the law.


(c) People working in the trade and commerce sector, from industrial entrepreneurs, import and export enterprises, land and water transport to college industrial unions, traders, brokers, shop keepers, small scale vendors, including slow running vehicle drivers, shall be encouraged to organise themselves systematically in order to actively participate in trade and commerce.  This will raise their standard of living and develop the country.


(d) Youth and Students


(1) For any country, youths, especially students, are the most precious human resource for the future destiny of the country.  We shall cultivate them and raise them by giving them modern education, and the tools to form a new country.


(2) They shall be permitted to form a consolidated student union that will prepare them for national politics.


(3) This single, consolidated student union shall be a symbol of national unity.


(e) Women 


(1) In serving the country in the fields of administration, economics and social work, women must have equal rights and share responsibility of official duties.  They must also hold the same rank as men.


(2) Pregnant women are entitled to state-provided health care.  By law, working women are entitled to "maternity leave" during the delivery period.




25.  We are determined to build a successful Union of Burma in the midst of the family of nations, having sovereignty and territorial integrity and equality among nations.  The people must be prosperous and free from danger and fear, in accordance with their aspirations.


26.  In so doing, we earnestly believe that the support, encouragement, criticism, advice, mutual help and coordination of the people are the main means by which to reach our objective aims.


"Democracy must surely win."



6 November 1989

National League for Democracy