Myanmar

Myanmar: Top regime official promises handover to civilian government

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by Htet Aung

Burma's military regime will hand over power to a civilian government after an election to be held in line with the new constitution, the regime's Secretary, Lt-Gen Thein Sein, said on Sunday.

"Power will be handed over to a civilian government after electing Hluttaw [the parliament] representatives as well as forming Hluttaw and [a] cabinet," said Thein Sein, who is also acting prime minister. He was speaking at a meeting of the Myanmar [Burma] Police Force, according to state-run The New Light of Myanmar.

Thein Sein said that the constitution would be approved after holding a referendum, and an election would then be held in accordance with the laws, the newspaper reported.

"In terms of the law, [a] referendum means taking the wish [of the electorate], but o­nly a parliament can approve a constitution," said Nyan Win, opposition National League for Democracy spokesman

The final session of the National Convention, which went into recess last December, will resume o­n July 18, said Thein Sein earlier this month. The NLD has so far received no invitation to the National Convention, Nyan Win said.

"They never mention the 1990 election result," he said. "If the election result is ignored, a bad heritage will be left in history." The NLD won the election by landslide but the regime ignored the result.

Although Thein Sein said that the constitution would be drawn up o­n the basis of basic, detailed principles, he gave no time frame. The drafting of a constitution is the third step of the regime's seven-point "road map" and a referendum is the fourth. The "road map" was announced by the regime in August 2003.

According to the new constitution, Burma will have a president as head of state. There will be two vice-presidents, three parliaments and a cabinet, Thein Sein said.