[JURIST] European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering [official website] Wednesday faulted the ruling junta of Myanmar for saying it would go ahead with a scheduled May 10 referendum on a draft constitution [JURIST news archives] in the aftermath of a devastating weekend cyclone that may have left up to 100,000 people dead [AP report]. In a statement [text], Poettering said:
We all are aware of the terrible consequences of the tropical storm, which hit Burma/Myanmar last Sunday, a tragedy that killed over tens of thousands people, left hundreds of thousands homeless and destroyed infrastructures in the most populated area of the country.
It is an absolutely unprecedented disaster at the scale of the country.
The military junta that rules the country has obviously worsened the situation by acting improperly. Neither was prevention ensured, nor was relief provided swiftly enough to the population. Moreover, it was decided to hold the "constitutional referendum" on 10 May as scheduled, displaying therewith a lack of concern and legitimacy.
Myanmar state media have reported that Saturday's vote will proceed as scheduled in most of the country [JURIST report], although the regime now says that the vote will be postponed in districts hardest hit by the cyclone. Myanmar opposition group the National League for Democracy Tuesday slammed [JURIST report] the plan to go ahead with the referendum as "extremely unacceptable." Reuters has more.