NLD Reaffirms Electoral Pledges on Independence Day

By Tin Htet Paing 5 January 2017

RANGOON — Burma’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party said the government is “managing, step by step, a process to adopt a Constitution with democratic norms.”

In a statement released on Wednesday commemorating the country’s 69th anniversary of independence, the NLD mentioned the government’s efforts and challenges in trying to implement its electoral pledges of adopting a democratic constitution, ending the long-running civil war and implementing a federal union.

The statement quoted State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who said, “a genuine independence should be a common ownership of all citizens.”

“[It] should allow [citizens] to equally enjoy basic human rights protected by law,” she was quoted.

“A country where one individual group can oppress and torture the public by abusing power cannot be defined as a truly independent state,” she said in the statement.

Burma lowered the British Union Jack in 1948 and raised the national flag, declaring the country’s independence from colonial rule. Since gaining independence, the country has suffered from armed conflicts throughout ethnic regions.

During the 2015 electoral campaign, the NLD pledged to amend the 2008 military-drafted Constitution and implement a democratic federal system. Ethnic minorities overwhelmingly voted for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party, which resulted in a landslide victory and replaced the military-backed quasi-civilian government.

However, among the country’s ethnic communities, there is disappointment with the NLD government’s as of yet unsuccessful efforts to end Burma’s decades-long civil war. De-facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has also been criticized as lacking in power, while the military continues to control three major ministries designated in the Constitution: defense, border and home affairs.

President U Htin Kyaw said in his Independence Day message published in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar on Wednesday that the Constitution is the foundation of all laws and plays a vital role in a country.

“We all must collaborate to adopt the Constitution appropriate to the time and circumstances of current situations in building a democratic federal nation,” he urged.

The President encouraged all citizens to cooperate in bringing about national reconciliation and to participate in the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference to end the ongoing civil war.

He added that despite regaining independence, it was tragic to see that “certain national races” in some regions could not fully enjoy the fruits of independence, as armed crises have continued in some ethnic areas of the country.

“The armed struggles lasted for decades but were unable to solve the country’s political crisis, and instead left the country undeveloped,” he said.

On Wednesday, NLD patron U Tin Oo delivered a speech at the party headquarters and echoed the State Counselor that there was nothing that could substitute for national reconciliation.

“Hardship and difficulties we currently suffer can only be healed by the will of reconciliation,” he said.

He also said quoting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, “our generation now has the opportunity to bring about peace that previous generations were not able to enjoy and it is important that we grasp this opportunity firmly.”

Without achieving national reconciliation for internal peace, no reform process will be successful, he said.

It is believed that none of the armed groups issued statements on the occasion of the Independence Day.