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NLD Observations on National Conven

Subject:       NLD Observations on National Convention


Following is the full text of the statement delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi at her press conference 
in Rangoon on 22 November 1995.

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                     THE OBSERVATIONS OF 

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 

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 away 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 percent of the 
	delegates and thus are permanent 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 NL:D 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 be realized.  
The work procedures of the convention are not democratic and the basic principles of 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 a 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 Burma and 
because it is 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.

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