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Myanmar to resume constitution talks in October

[JURIST] The ruling military junta in Myanmar [JURIST news archive] will resume negotiations for a new constitution [JURIST report] in the second week of October, junta spokesman Lt. Gen. Thein Sein announced Saturday. The constitutional convention was suspended on January 31 [JURIST report], with delegates postponing talks until the end of the year to allow farmers to cultivate their harvests. While delegates have met intermittently to compose a new constitution since 1993, Sein said in late July that the constitution is 75 percent complete, and that the parties had agreed on the basic principles of the new constitution.

The constitutional convention is the first step in a seven-stage road map that the government says is aimed at unification, democracy and free elections. Critics see the convention as a ploy [JURIST report] to enable the junta to stay in power. The main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) is not participating, despite winning a landslide victory in general elections in 1990. NLD pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi [advocacy website; BBC profile], still under a recently-extended house arrest [JURIST report], has been banned from attending the convention. Myanmar has been without a constitution since 1988, when the military suspended the existing 1974 charter [text] in response to mass pro-democracy protests. AP has more.

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