Fri 31 Aug 2007
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
National Convention delegates finalized and endorsed Myanmar’s draft constitution on Friday and were prepared to wrap up the 15-year, charter-writing process next week, delegates said.
The 1,000 or so delegates attending the convention are scheduled go to NyaungHanPin camp, Hmawby township, Yangon Division, on Sunday for a special session and on Monday will hold a ceremony hosted by National Convention chairman Lieutenant General Thein Sein.
All will leave NyaungHnaPin on Tuesday, delegates told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa.
The current and final session of the constitution drafting process began on July 18 with 1,058 military-appointed delegates in attendance.
Finalizing the draft constitution, which must then be approved by a referendum, comes at a time of growing signs of discontent with Myanmar’s military rulers, especially for mishandling the economy.
A decision to double fuel prices on August 15 has sparked angry demonstrations in Yangon, the former capital, and led to crackdowns and over 100 arrests over the past 10 days.
It is likely that Myanmar’s ruling junta will use the conclusion of the national convention to calm discontent with the promise of an eventual election in the country which has been under military rule since 1962.
The National Convention – dubbed a “sham” by many Western observers and Myanmar’s chief opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD) – was launched on October 2, 1992, to draft a new charter for the country which had by then been under military rule for the past 30 years.
The military argued that a new constitution was necessary before it could hand over power to a civilian government, a manoeuvre that was quickly seen as a ploy to hang on to power in the aftermath of the 1990 general election which the NLD, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, had already won by a landslide.
The convention process, stalled in 1996 by an NLD walkout, was resurrected in 2004 as the first step in the junta’s so-called roadmap to democracy.
There have been five sessions since 2004, at which most of the crucial articles on the constitution, such as providing a dominant role for the military in the next government and how to handle power-sharing among Myanmar’s myriad minority groups, have been settled.
At the final session the role of political parties, declaration of state of emergency, creation of the national flag, national emblem, national anthem and amendments were discussed.