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Myanmar Gearing up for Nat. Convent

Subject: Myanmar Gearing up for Nat. Convention

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November 27, 1995


YANGON (AFP - Jiji) - Myanmar is gearing up for a National
Convention this week to settle the country's political future, but
threats of a boycott by the main opposition party are likely to
disrupt the proceedings.

After four months of little overt activity since her release from
house arrest, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has upped
the political stakes by calling the convention "totally
unacceptable" and threatening a boycott.

The convention, made up of more than 700 delegates drawn
from political parties, ethnic groups and delegates chosen by the
military junta, is due to reconvene Tuesday to work out the
details of a new constitution.

The military has agreed to hand power over to a civilian
government once the constitution has been drawn up but insists
on maintaining a leading role in future Myanmarese

However, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD),
which overwhelmingly won national elections in 1990, has
denounced the convention, calling it a forum for the military to
legitimize its position.

The results of the 1990 election were ignored by the military,
which seized power in 1988. 

"It's just a paper - reading forum, it's not a national convention
as it stands," Suu Kyi told a small group of journalists

She said most delegates to the convention had been hand picked
by the government, and all would be subject to censorship.

"It should be a genuine national convention that allows free
discussion and debate which allows the will of the people, the
voice of the people to be heard."  she added.

For the junta, the convention is a showcase forum to show the
outside world that the military is moving to respond to the
demands of the Myamnarese people.

The National Convention holds the key to "a new enduring
constitution that will respond to the wishes and aspirations of
the people," an editorial said Friday in the official New Light of
Myamnar newspaper.

"It is the ... duty of all who desire peace and prosperity to work
together toward the success of the National Convention," it

The newspaper has reported this week on the hundreds of
delegates from across the country arriving in the capital for the

The other players in the convention the ethnic minorities - have
yet to make their cases known, but analysts here doubt that any
will rally behind the flag of the NLD.  
"Aung San Sun Kyi has not done enough to advocate a federal
state, and I think many feel she is pushing a Burmese cause,"
said one diplomat.

Support for an NLD boycott from the minorities "also depends
on how much the SLORC is making it worth their while not to,"
he added, referring to the State Law and Order Restoration
Council, as the junta is officially known.

Suu Kyi said Saturday that the NLD had been in contact with
some ethnic minorities, but declined to name them or provide

(Photo showing barricades outside ASSK's house, captioned:)
YANGON (AP) A Myanmarese security youth from the
National League for Democracy (NLD) party of dissident
leader Aung San Suu Kyi stands guard during a weekly
question and 'answer forum given by Suu Kyi at her residence
on Saturday.