Mon, Shan: New Draft Constitution for Real Union of Burma
The drafted constitution was adopted by 101 delegates from 59 organizations of democratic forces, political forces of the various ethnic nationalities, Member of Parliament-elect (MP) of the 1990 elections, women, youth and the grassroots in a three-day seminar held on April 6 to 8 near the Thai-Burma border.
“There were eight states, including a Burmese state and four multi-nationality states drafted in the constitution,” he added. It is significant because it includes a Burmese state, unlike the current setup that has no Burmese state. Currently, Burma has seven states and seven divisions.
“State people can draft their state constitutions. But it can't go against the drafted federal constitution,” Sakhong explained.
The new draft constitution was taken from the draft constitutions of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), Democratic Alliance of Burma, and United Nationalities League for Democracy (UNLD).
“I think this constitution is better than NCUB constitution. It is quite good,” said Nai Suthorn, a member of the Mon Ethnic State who helped draft the constitution.
According to the seminar statement, the new constitution, consisting of 14 chapters and 197 articles, aims not only for the establishment of a democratic state but also for a genuine federal system advocated by Burmese leader Bogyoke Aung San and leaders of the indigenous ethnic nationalities at the Panglong Conference in 1947.
But Interim Shan Government foreign minister Soa Hkun Hom said it is better to adopt portions of the European Union (EU) constitution, which give states the right to separate from the federal state, establish an independent state, or rejoin the federal state.
He added: “Majority of Shan people wanted independent state. But whether they want to join the federal state or not depends on the Shan people's decision.” Interim Shan Government declared the Federated Shan States only last year. Shan is an ethnic nationality in Burma .
According to Dr. Lian H Sakong, the new draft constitution must be explained to all the ethnic nationalities and the entire people in the whole union and the international community. The draft constitution also supports for tripartite dialogue for solving the political problem in Burma .
The exile groups stated that if the Burmese military regime truly desires peace and national reconciliation, they should actively participate in a genuine national convention attended by genuine representative of the entire people. Free and frank discussion can be made in the convention with regards to the draft federal constitution which has been approved by the seminar participated in by various organizations.