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                       ON THE NATIONAL CONVENTION
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 Burma a constitution based
firmly on democratic principles is an absolute necessity.
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 Burma can jointly decide the
future course of the Nation.
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 democracy in Burma and to return
power to the people as soon as possible.
Slorc declaration number 1/90 of 27 July 1990 states that it is
the duty of the elected representatives of the people to draw up
a constitution.
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
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.
Concluding Statement
The National Convention in its present form is not acceptable to
the people of Burma and because it not acceptable to the majority
of our people it is not acceptable to the National League for
Democracy. And a constitution that is drawn up by a National
Convention that does not enjoy the confidence of the people will
itself not get the support of the people. And a constitution that
is not supported by the people will be nothing more than a piece
of paper. So we call upon all those concerned to discuss the
matter of bringing about a National Convention that is truly
acceptable to the people and that will be able to draw up a
constitution that will create a lasting democratic Union of
Burma. It is for this reason that we have now put out this
statement because the National League for Democracy has a duty to
proclaim its position to the people who voted for it in 1990. We
believe that our statement, our stance will be supported by the
great majority of the people of Burma and it is our intention to
continue along a path that is always consonant of the will of the
people. Thank you.
Text ends.