HIS EXCELLENCY U OHN GYAW
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DELEGATION OF
THE UNION OF MYANMAR
IN THE GENERAL DEBATE
AT THE FORTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 4 OCTOBER 1991
PERMANENT MISSION OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR TO THE U.N. • 10 E. 77th STREET, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10021 • TEL. (212) 535-1310
Questions have been raised
in some quarters about the perceived delay in the transfer of power. Some have
even gone so far as to assert that the Myanmar Government has shown no sign of
respecting the wishes of the people. Without prejudice to the firmly held
position of my Government that the political process now under way in the
country is a matter falling essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of my
country — a principle clearly enshrined in the Charter — I would like to apprise this august Assembly of the
- Two months after the successful holding of multiparty elections in May 1990 which were recognized by all as the most free and fair elections in the history of Myanmar, the State Law and Order Resto-ration Council on 27 July 1990 issued Declaration 1/90 setting forth a post-election programme. All political parties have agreed to abide by the programme;
- The Election Commission, which is an independent body, has issued two progress reports this year in which it indicated that it was continuing with its task of concluding a final report in accordance with the Election Law and the Election Rules and that scrutiny of the financial returns of the candidates could not proceed at a more rapid rate due to the failure of candidates to maintain accounts systematically;
- In accordance with the Election Law, a number of candidates have contested the results and tribunals have been set up to investigate the objections. This due process of law must be allowed to complete its course;
- Once the Election Commission has submitted its final report, the State Law and Order Restoration Council will meet with the elected representatives to discuss the holding of a national convention. The Convention will be entrusted with the task of working out a broad national consensus which will form the basis for framing a new constitution. In addition to the elected representatives, leaders of political parties, leaders and representatives of all national races and respected veteran politicians will participate in the convention;
- On the basis of the national consensus arrived at the convention, the elected representatives will draw up a new constitution. The State Law and Order Restoration Council in the best traditions of the Myanmar Defence Services will make suggestions and render all necessary assistance for the successful drafting and adoption of an enduring constitution;
- The State Law and Order Restoration Council is above party politics. It is neither a political organization nor does it have any intention of forming one. It will continue to shoulder its responsibility to lead the nation till the time a strong government can be formed on the basis of the new constitution.
Undoubtedly, a strong and enduring constitution is a prerequisite for a strong and stable government, the more so in Myanmar because of its historical experiences. The first constitution, drawn up in 1947 while Myanmar was still under British colonial rule, had flaws and shortcomings. In the early 1960s a few politicians with secessionist ambitions attempted to take advantage of them. As a result the country was brought to the brink of disintegration in 1962 and the Defence Services were compelled to step in to save the country.
The second constitution was promulgated in 1974 during the time of the one-party socialist system. The entire people took part in the thorough and systematic process which lasted over two years. The final text was adopted in a nation-wide referendum on 3 January 1974 by an overwhelming vote of 90.19 per cent. Notwithstanding this the constitution was short-lived and was rendered inoperative in 1988 when in response to the aspirations of the people, the State Law and Order Restoration Council abolished the single-party system and introduced a multiparty democratic system.
In the light of these experiences, it goes without saying that the new constitution now being contemplated should be a living instrument that would reflect the hopes and aspirations of this generation as well as generations to come.
At this critical stage in the life of my country the constitutional process is an undertaking to be pursued in a peaceful, systematic and orderly manner. It is a task that can be best accomplished by the people of Myanmar themselves at a pace and in a manner best suited to the conditions of the country.
In conclusion I should like to state categorically that once the political process I have outlined is completed The State Law and Order Restoration Council will transfer the reins of the State to a strong and stable government formed in accordance with the new constitution.
Thank you, Mr. President.
[This document comprises the last two pages (11 and 12) of the Foreign Minister’s statement – OBL editor]