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Lawyers seek an end to Burma's nati

Date: 07 Oct 1997 

The Nation 

Lawyers seek an end to Burma's national body 


The Nation 

A REPRESENTATIVE of the Burma Lawyers' Council yesterday called for the 
dissolution of the National Convention, established by the ruling State, Law 
and Order Restoration Council in 1991. 

Speaking to hundreds of regional legal experts and social scientists at a 
regional symposium on ''Law, Justice, and Open Society in Asean," Aung Huoo 
said that the National Convention, which has the responsibility to draft 
Burma's constitution, is just Slorc's attempt to manipulate the political 
process through a legal device. 

''The convention has been cloaked in legal and consultative artifices to bring 
an appearance of form to an illegitimate process. And with that, the military 
junta wish to gain domestic and international legitimacy and credibility," 
said Aung Huoo. 

The symposium was organised by Thammasat University's Law Faculty and the 
Konrad Adenauer Foundation. 

After the popular uprising in Burma in 1989, the military junta decided to 
hold a national democratic election in 1990. But it abruptly aborted the 
election after the National League for Democracy led by the Nobel Peace 
Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory. Soon after that, Slorc 
retrospectively decreed that those elected in 1990 have a duty to frame a 
constitution for the future democratic state. Then in April 1993, the ruling 
junta issued a declaration titled, ''The Convening of a National Convention." 

''This was in fact to negate the 1990 democratic election. The essence of the 
declaration was that power would not be transferred to the elected 
representative, but it would continue to reside with Slorc," said Aung Htoo. 

The National Convention process is controlled by the ruling military junta, as 
out of the 485 elected representatives, only 99 were permitted to attend. The 
other 603 members were chosen by Slorc. The junta has also ordered the 
convention to turn out a constitution that guarantees the military the leading 
role in future national politics, said Aung Htoo, who is also the BLC