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Myanmar Opposition rejects UN proposal

The National League for Democracy has rejected a UN proposal to take part in national efforts to draw up a new Constitution.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 15:37 IST

Myanmar's main Opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) on Friday rejected a UN proposal to take part in national efforts to draw up a new Constitution.

"From our side, we want to have a dialogue (with the military junta) rather than the National Convention," said NLD secretary U Lwin.

UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari met the NLD executive committee during his visit to Myanmar May 17-20.

At their meeting, Gambari reportedly proposed that the opposition party rejoin the military regime's National Convention process while using the forum to raise current political problems.

"This national convention started in 1992, so we already have had a lot of experience with it," said Lwin.

"What we would like to have now is a negotiator, so that we can start a meaningful dialogue with the military."

The NLD has for the past decade refused to participate in the military-backed national convention process to draft a new Constitution for the country and devise a power-sharing mechanism prior to holding a new round of elections.

The national convention forum was started by the military in the wake of the 1990 general election that the NLD won by a landslide.

The electoral victory was rejected by the military on the grounds that Myanmar, still threatened by insurgencies, would not be ready for civilian rule until a new constitution was drafted to deal with the "minorities" problem.

The NLD walked out on the national convention process in 1996, dubbing it a "sham" designed to keep the military in power.

A decade later, the military is still promoting the convention as the first step in their glacial progress towards introducing democracy to the country, which has been under military rule since 1962.

The NLD has long maintained that it is essential to open a dialogue with the regime before it re-enters the national convention process, to set the ground rules for the forum.

First Published: Jun 09, 2006 15:37 IST