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Suu Kyi stays mum on revamped gover

The Nation (25 November 1997)
Suu Kyi stays mum on revamped government 


RANGOON ­ Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said yesterday that
she was reserving judgement on the revamped military government because
she needed time to form an opinion on it. 

''We need to wait and see whether they really change their policies or
not," she said before a National Day celebration at her house. 

About 360 people, including party members, diplomats and local media,
attended the ceremony at Suu Kyi's lakeside home. National Day
commemorates the boycott declared by a group of Rangoon University
student leaders in 1920 against the British, the country's former
colonial masters. 

Her statement was the first since the sudden announcement earlier this
month that the ruling military body had changed its name to the State
Peace and Development Council (SPDC) from the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc). 

''Merely changing the name from Slorc to SPDC does not make any
difference," she said. ''There will not be any difference if the heart
does not change. There will not be any difference if the policy does not

The Slorc, which had ruled the country with an iron hand since seizing
power in 1988, no longer exists. 

Many of the former council members were removed and the cabinet was
revamped in what diplomats said was an effort to remove corrupt officials
and improve the government's image. 

A government spokesman said that the new government's mission was to
restore democracy to Burma and the change of name and composition at the
top was a sign it was following that mission. 

Diplomats had said a key test of the SPDC's policies would be if it
allowed Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy to hold her own
National Day celebration and it did. 

The new government issued a statement saying it was allowing the ceremony
to take place because it was within the framework of the law. 

''It is important that all existing political parties cooperate with the
government and also to meet their respective commitments which are part
of the transitional process in building any democracy," the statement