Myanmar changes referendum law to allow free voting

February 27th, 2008 - 9:45 pm ICT by admin  

Yangon, Feb 27 (Xinhua) Myanmar’s constitutional referendum law has made provisions for transparency in voting and vote counting to ensure a free and fair nationwide referendum in May on a draft constitution. The law allows secret ballot and counting of votes immediately after voting in the presence of the voters, the state-run daily Myanmar Alin reported.

The law warned against acts aimed at undermining the referendum, banning public speeches and disseminating of leaflets and posters in an attempt to disturb the smooth running of the referendum.

Law-breakers will be punished with a prison term of up to three years or a fine in cash up to 100,000 Kyats (nearly $100), the referendum law said.

The ruling military government Tuesday enacted a 12-chaptered 2008 Republic of Union of Myanmar Referendum Law and set up a commission for a nationwide constitutional referendum.

The move, declared by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the name the junta has given itself, came a week after the State Constitution Drafting Commission announced the completion of the constitution draft Feb 19.

Formed under the referendum law, the 45-member Commission for Holding Nationwide Referendum is headed by Chief Justice U. Aung Toe who is also the chairman of the State Constitution Drafting Commission.

The May referendum will follow a multi-party general election in 2010 to transform the military administration into democratic administration in accordance with the government’s seven-step roadmap to democracy.

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