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Burma Opposition Vows to Continue Public Campaign for Constitutional Reforms


Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a rally in the central city of Mandalay, May 18, 2014.

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a rally in the central city of Mandalay, May 18, 2014.

The main opposition in Burma, also known as Myanmar, said it will continue its public campaign for constitutional reforms despite warnings from election officials.

Following rallies led by Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon and Mandalay, National League for Democracy (NLD) parliament member Win Htein told VOA Burmese Monday the party strongly believes in gaining public support and will step up its campaign on Tuesday.

“We don’t think Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s comments are beyond the constitutional boundary. Urging support from the public, including members of the military, did not go beyond the constitutional boundary. So, we will continue our plan and the nationwide petition campaign will start [Tuesday],” said Win Htein.

He also said that the commission’s warning is apparently aimed at putting pressure on NLD activities ahead on next year’s election.

But Deputy Director of the Union Election Commission Hla Maung Cho told VOA that Aung San Suu Kyi’s comments at recent rallies violated the code for members of parliament. "Political party registration law requires certain rules be followed. ...If the commission finds a political party failed to follow existing rules and regulations, as well as announcements and orders, a warning can be issued to restrain within a given period [of time]," Hla Maung Cho said.

On Saturday, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana expressed concern over the military's veto power on constitutional changes, which he said are vital for the country's democratic transition and elections next year.

The 2008 constitution, drawn by Burma's former military rulers, gives the army 25 percent of all parliamentary seats, allows it to appoint three cabinet ministers and have veto power in changing the constitution.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.
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