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Home > Main Library > 7-Step Roadmap (Steps leading up to, including and following the 2010 General Elections) > 7-Step Roadmap (Step 4): Adoption of the constitution through national referendum. (commentary)

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7-Step Roadmap (Step 4): Adoption of the constitution through national referendum. (commentary)

Individual Documents

Title: No Real Choice: An Assessment of Burma's 2008 Referendum
Date of publication: 08 May 2009
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In May 2008, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) held a referendum in which citizens of Burma were asked to vote on a new national constitution for the country. This report provides an overview of that process and offers a detailed assessment of the conduct of the referendum within Kachin State, and northern Shan State. Based on that assessment, this report concludes that the referendum was a sham – the Kachin State Referendum Commission clearly intended to ensure the approval of the draft constitution regardless of public sentiment. Officials engineered victory through the pervasive abuse of voters’ basic rights and engaged in widespread fraud. In short, the May 2008 referendum is not a legitimate measure of citizens’ consent to be governed, but rather a reflection of the government’s determination to impose its rule regardless of public sentiment. As the fourth “step” in the “Road Map to Democracy”, the conduct of the referendum is illustrative of “Disciplined Democracy” and bodes poorly for the promised elections in 2010. The Institute for Political Analysis and Documentation (IPAD) has produced this report in order to raise the public’s awareness about the illegitimate character of the referendum. IPAD is an independent policy research and training center devoted to Burma. Founded in January 2008, IPAD promotes democracy, human rights and accountable governance through a range of initiatives including political analysis, human rights documentation, and grassroots roots training initiatives."...N.B. A Google search found no website or publications other than "No Real Choice" by IPAD, which in the press release states that: "IPAD promotes democracy, and accountable governance in Burma through a range of initiatives including political analysis, human rights assessments, and grassroots roots training initiatives."
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: Institute for Political Analysis and Documentation (IPAD)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB - English; 804K - Burmese; 122K - press release)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs07/No_Real_Choice(bu).pdf
Date of entry/update: 08 May 2009

Date of publication: 26 May 2008
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "On 10 May 2008, just one week after Cyclone Nargis tore through Burma.s Irrawady Delta killing an estimated 100,000 people and leaving at least one million others homeless, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the Burmese military regime, held a referendum on its draft constitution. In the weeks prior to the referendum, numerous pro-democracy groups, governments, and international organizations expressed concerns as to whether the SPDC would conduct the referendum in a free and fair manner, in accordance with international norms and standards for free and fair referendum processes. These groups reported that the junta was systematically threatening voters to sway them to vote in favor of the constitution, purposefully spreading misinformation to confuse voters, and suppressing all criticism of the referendum and draft constitution. Reports indicate that similar activities continued on the day of the referendum. The purpose of this report is to analyze whether the SPDC conducted the May 10th constitutional referendum in Burma in accordance with basic international standards for free and fair referendum processes. The report reviews basic standards for constitutional referendums and, using media and other reports, analyzes the administration of the referendum under those standards. The report finds that the referendum was not free or fair, as it was not conducted in accordance with international law or basic democratic standards." 2
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Public International Law & Policy Group
Format/size: pdf (278K)
Date of entry/update: 30 May 2008

Title: NEUE VERFASSUNG: Burmas Militärherrscher jubeln über ihr Referendum
Date of publication: 15 May 2008
Description/subject: Hunderttausende Menschen in Burma leiden - doch die Militärjunta verkündet Erfolgsmeldungen: Den Generälen zufolge wurde die neue Verfassung mit über 92 Prozent Zustimmung angenommen. Ausländische Hilfe lassen die Machthaber weiter nur eingeschränkt zu - die Uno ist frustriert; referendum 2008; cyclone Nargis; UN aid programmes;
Language: German, Deutsch
Source/publisher: Spiegel Online
Format/size: Html (82 kb)
Date of entry/update: 15 May 2008

Title: Burma-Nachrichten 6/2008, 09.Mai 2008
Date of publication: 09 May 2008
Description/subject: Meldungen: Zyklon Nargis und Spenden Militär hält an Verfassungsreferendum fest Interview zur Lage in Burma in Readers Edition Veranstaltung am 14.6. in Berlin; cyclone Nargis and donations; Referendum 2008; Interview with Ulrike Bey in Readers Edition;
Language: German, Deutsch
Source/publisher: Asienhaus
Format/size: Html (10 kb)
Date of entry/update: 15 May 2008

Title: Vote to Nowhere - The May 2008 Constitutional Referendum in Burma
Date of publication: 01 May 2008
Description/subject: "...On May 10, 2008, the Burmese military government will hold a referendum on a draft constitution that it claims will usher in a new era of “discipline-flourishing genuine multiparty democracy.” However, the generals’ referendum, reflecting 46 years of brutal military rule, will not bring the people of Burma any closer to a democratic and rights-respecting government they so desperately seek, and for which they have courageously struggled. Instead, the draft constitution that the generals are demanding the Burmese people approve is designed to perpetuate military control in Burma, and obstruct any steps toward a meaningful multiparty democracy that upholds human rights. The environment in Burma prior to the referendum has been one of continuing intimidation of the political opposition and general populace, denial of basic freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, and arbitrary arrests and detention. Under such widespread repression and a pervasive climate of fear, no free and fair referendum can take place in Burma. Since the military crackdown on monks and pro-democracy protestors in August-September 2007, foreign governments and intergovernmental bodies have responded in varying ways. International criticism may be partly responsible for the referendum being announced, in February 2008, but it will not ensure that the vote is conducted freely. Concerted public pressure and targeted sanctions by the military government’s international supporters as well as its detractors is needed if there is to be any hope that real democratic progress, rather than further constitutional travesties, can be achieved..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: html, pdf (536K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/04/30/vote-nowhere-0
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2008

Title: Burma’s Sham Referendum
Date of publication: March 2008
Description/subject: "The Burmese military government’s announcement that a constitutional referendum will be held in May, followed by elections in 2010, has taken everyone by surprise... “The time has now come to change from military rule to democratic civilian rule,” the state media reported. Democratic civilian rule in Burma? Unfortunately, no one is convinced. We suspect that any transition the junta has in mind would be very much one-sided and would guarantee that regime leaders take off their uniforms but hold on to power..."
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2008