THE POLITICAL ROAD MAP
The UNITED NATIONALITIES LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY
ITS FIVE POINT POSITION
THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION
1. Just and equitable investigation of the Tabayin episode.
It is unmistakably clear that
No matter what they say, there is no dispute about the fact that the clash was between followers of the NLD on one side and Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) members on the other side, with over 1000 persons armed with swords, clubs, bamboo spears and catapults. The authorities announced that there were 4 deaths but the NLD claim that the number of lost and dead exceeded 100. This event is not a mere “internal” affair. It is a regional and international issue, which has aroused global interest.
A people killing festival of such grave proportion should not be brushed aside trivially by a government, which claims that “law and order” is its primary concern. It is compulsory that the matter be investigated urgently and with uttermost justice. It is most astonishing and inequitable for NLD leaders including U Tin Oo and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to be arrested and imprisoned, for all NLD offices to be shut down, for other NLD leaders to be placed under house arrest while no action whatsoever has been taken against the military government’s sponsored USDA.
No one can deny that such a serious event – the killing and
destruction of human beings – requires investigation. Since the USDA members are involved in this
it is not proper that the investigation be performed by one who is under the
military government’s authority. In
order that the truth may be revealed the investigation should be by the United
Nations. We think that after such an
investigation a Truth Commission (similar to that in
We request members of the military and members of the NLD who love their country and their fellowmen to give this message serious consideration.
2. The political road map drawn by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is entirely unacceptable to the United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD)
The political road map announced by the Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt on the 30th August is an indication that he has turned his back on the NLD and the democratic forces. It points to a road in the opposite direction and will not reduce suspicion and hatred. It should not be followed. It will be bad for the country. Reasons for saying this are given below.
The people had expressed their wishes in the 1990 State Law and Order Restoration Council’s (SLORC) free and fair multi-party General Elections. The results of those elections were published for the country, the states and the world to know.
In connection with that election the following questions have to be asked: -
(a) Why has not a parliament been convened to this day?
(b) What political party, what person did anything that was wrong?
(c) What errors did the Elections Commission commit?
(d) Why has it not been possible to establish democracy in the country till this day?
SLORC issued its Notification Number 1/90 on
We need to examine the contents of Notification 1/90, which is the foundation for the elections. In paragraph 12, it is stated that a Parliament must be convened with representatives elected by the people in accordance with Section 3 of the Pyithu Hlutaw (Parliament) Elections Law.
Paragraph 16 states that no one can deny that the 1974 constitution, which was drawn up shortly after independence, became law after the holding of a referendum. What we must remember is that at that time no Parliament existed. That is why the people’s wishes had to be obtained through a referendum. When a Parliament should be convened, why is a referendum necessary?
Paragraph 17 states that it is necessary to obtain the consent of the nationalities by negotiation. The 1990 elections was one where the whole country participated. The nationalities had the opportunity to express their desires. Now there is no need to refer to the people again by way of a referendum.
Because of this, paragraph 20 clearly stated. “Therefore, the peoples’ chosen representatives are the people who will have the responsibility to write a constitution for the establishment of a future democratic country”.
Taking everything into consideration, it is clear that there is no need for a referendum. The constitution must be written by a Parliament composed of the people’s elected representatives in the 1990 elections. That notification was signed by none other than SLORC Secretary (1) General Khin Nyunt.
Instead of convening a Parliament and transferring state powers to it, SLORC’s Secretary 1 General Khin Nyunt deviated from the original stance and issued Notification 11/52 on 24 -4-52 which stated that “ Notification 1/90 was for the purpose of convening a National Convention”. The truth and the fact is that there was no mention of a National Convention in Notification 1/90. This was a deliberate falsification.
Hoping that a change would come about some day we did not argue or dispute this issue and together with the NLD candidates, the UNLD’s representative attended the Convention. In time, the situation became awkward. Of 702 delegates to the National Convention only 105 were the originally empowered people’s elected representatives while 377 were just eliminated. The other 600 delegates of the convention were either military personnel or favorites hand picked by the government. Then 6 guidelines were imposed. We do not want to comment on the first five but the sixth, which stated, “the Military has a special role to perform in the nation’s politics” needs careful consideration. This exceeds internationally accepted concepts of democracy. It went further and required that one fourth of the Parliament members be representatives from the Military and a compulsory qualification for the position of president of the nation was at least 10 years military service. Procedural rules for the convention were restrictive with no room for freedom of expression. It was paving the way for the interim military government to become legitimized and transformed into a legitimate permanent government. This is not something that a democratic country desires. The request to amend the rules was disallowed. NLD delegates then staged a walkout in 1955 and that was when the Convention came to a halt.
After this, there was hope that first the NLD and the
military power holders would reach an understanding through dialogue that would
later include the representatives of the nationalities. But what was hoped for did not materialize.
With the Tabayin episode all hope has vanished and
further progress has been destroyed.
Now, General Khin Nyunt
has put his signature to a document dated the
3. Immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners who under some pretext or another are incarcerated since 1988.
Freedom to participate in political activities is the birthright of every citizen of every country. Thakin Soe, one-time leader of the Burmese Communist Party, said that “Dissent makes one the enemy”. Learned political leaders of the world affirm, “In politics, there are no everlasting friends as there are no everlasting enemies.” Similarly, there are people in our country who participate in politics according to their beliefs and convictions. Just as there are extremists, there are moderates. This is a natural phenomenon.
To consider as an enemy someone or some party, which does not have the same views as yourself, or your party, to imprison them and to debar or disqualify that political party amounts to accepting the said Thakin Soe’s policy.
The UNLD accepts the view that “in politics there are no everlasting friends as there are no everlasting enemies”. We see the positives in the basic right of freedom to participate in politics. Therefore we believe that the release of all political prisoners who have been incarcerated since 1988 will help in solving the current political turmoil.
4. The National League for Democracy, which won the majority of seats in the 1990 election, and the SPDC meet and exchange views.
The NLD political party, which won the majority of seats in the 1990 election, is duly registered and recognized by the Election Commission. It also has the largest support of the people. It is a political party that has been systematically established in the divisions, states, districts, townships, and wards with a central executive body.
The SPDC is a military government that appropriated authority to restore law and order in 1988 when the whole country rose up spontaneously and demonstrated their desire for democracy. Both groups have the responsibility to unravel the political mess that exists today. We believe that “love of country and fellow citizens” is the feeling that prevails in both camps.
It is the duty of the SPDC and the NLD to solve the country’s political problems but meeting and exchanging views has not happened as yet. Hence an internal affair has now become an Asian and a world affair. This cannot be denied. What could have been solved with a needle has reached the stage where the problem must be tackled with an axe.
If there is still the will to solve the current political problems, we believe that the first step should be a meeting between the two groups not shrouded in secrecy but with an openness for the whole world to witness.
5. The basic democratic rights of all citizens should be restored.
Political activists have had to leave the country and continue their struggle for democracy from outside. Some have fled to the jungles and resorted to armed resistance. Inside the country there are some who have been prohibited and political parties have been disqualified. Some have been imprisoned. Some have been conditionally released with suspended sentences. The price that has been paid for democracy has been enormous.
The SPDC, which governs the country today, is laying the foundation for democracy. They have made a worldwide declaration that a new democratic state will be established. We believe that their desire is not for a socialist or a communist state.
We believe that the SPDC and all political parties and political activists are in the same boat on the same journey and with just one goal.
Therefore we believe that every restrictive order or action must be abolished and all citizens must be permitted to exercise the basic democratic rights, which are freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom to publish and freedom to participate in politics within the bounds of the democratic system.
The above describes each petal while the comments that follow completes the string of flowers.
1. In relation to the first point, the “wait and see attitude” should not be adopted. There should be the willingness to accept the truth no matter what is revealed or what process is adopted. Discarding the clinging animosity and hatred, and resolving to continue with the job that must be done together is a prior decision that should be taken. Rather than working in opposition with backs turned against each other, a face-to-face consultation for the purpose of finding common ground on which both sides can stand and slowly reach an agreement is the best way to go.
2. Our second stand relates to the “road map”. It should be carefully reconsidered because it will cause the parties to turn their backs on each other resulting in more disadvantages than advantages for the country. We believe that it should be reviewed or kept in abeyance. The authorities should be magnanimous and if they act without pride and arrogance, the other side will react positively which will bring the parties closer to each other.
3. If the authorities will go the next step and act according to our stand given as the third point and release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally it will create a political climate that will be pleasant and bright.
4. Simultaneously, our fourth stand should be accepted and meetings and consultations between the SPDC and the NLD should commence.
5. Before too long, the suggestions given in our fifth point should be implemented. Within three months from commencement of dialogue between the two groups, this freedom should be completed. Those who believe that the military has a part to play in the nation’s political sphere should resign from the military and clearly establish a political party. Civil servants who have the desire to be politicians should do likewise. In a genuine democracy the demarcation between civil servants and politicians is clear and sharp. Other civilians should be free to join any political party of their own choosing or form their own political parties. Then the ground will be well prepared for a meaningful election where people are well informed and organized. Rather than forcing and organizing people in a certain direction, the above is the right and correct way.
6. The 1990 election outcome should be recognized and implemented as a basis from which to proceed. Both sides in consultation and negotiation should decide the date on which state power is to be transferred. Prior to a formal transfer, an interim coalition government or some suitably combined authority should be first set up. This interim government or authority should comprise the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP) and the military government’s representatives and it should be completed within three months.
7. However, should agreement be reached for the convening of a National Convention, it must be based upon the outcome of the 1990 elections. The elected representatives of the people must be the basic force in the National Convention. Special elections should be conducted to fill vacant positions in the various electorates. All delegates must act in accordance with the rules and procedures adopted in the National Convention (details set out in paragraph 8). For the purpose of a wider understanding and in depth discussion, suitable delegates to the convention may be appointed by the interim government/authority. But the number of such appointees shall not exceed the number of the people’s elected representatives.
8. The Interim Coalition Government or the Suitably Combined Authority should act as a supervisory body to the National Convention and formulate the basic guide lines and requirements. It should be started afresh and not as a continuation of the defunct convention. Rules of procedure should be framed. The National Convention should draw up the basic principles that must be written into the Constitution within 6 months of its formation and the Interim Government should give a time frame for presenting the same to the Parliament. Only the Interim Government should have the authority to extend the time by three months if necessary.
9. All operations by the National Convention between the years 1993 to 1996 should be wiped off the slate, all should be given. This should be regarded as new and to start with new procedural rules should be negotiated and formulated.
10. Based on the draft constitution prepared by the National Convention as set out in paragraph 7, the Parliament must within 6 months complete and confirm the new Constitution.
11. Within 6 months of such confirmation a general election should be held with international supervision.
12. Within 6 months of the elections, a Parliament must be convened. The Parliament will be responsible for forming the new government, transferring of state power, and all other matters relating to the state.
The gateway out of our political difficulties is as shown above. We submit this as the Political Road Map of the United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD) and believe that it can be acceptable to all.
United Nationalities League for Democracy