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April 3, 2008

Say ‘No’ to junta’s charter - NLD

Members of the Opposition NLD rallied in front of the party headquarters in Yangon as they launched the Vote No campaign.

Myanmar’s pro-democracy the National League for Democracy (NLD) has launched a campaign urging the public vote against the military government’s draft charter in a referendum to held in May.

Following the NLD’s move, the United Nations Security Council, in a statement to be released shortly, calls on the Myanmar junta to allow detained NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and other political actors to speak freely and hold meetings ahead of the May referendum on a new constitution.

The statement is expected to be circulated to all 15 Security Council members in the coming days. It needs the approval of all members for the council to adopt it, said the Associated Press report, which obtained the draft statement prepared by the United States, Britain and France.

The draft Security Council statement also expresses regret at the military government's "slow rate of progress" towards meeting the council's call last September for a "genuine dialogue" with the pro-democracy opposition and the early release of all political prisoners and detainees.

The military government has not made public the final version of the constitution. However, leaked copies reportedly show the basic law would give the military continued dominance over the government even after elections slated for 2010.

It would bar Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize winner who is under house arrest, from running for president because she married a Briton.

The referendum in May will be the first balloting in Burma since 1990, when the NLD won a landslide victory that was never recognised by the junta.

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