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Burmese Opposition to Boycott Constitutional Convention - 2004-05-14


Burma's main pro-democracy opposition party, the National League for Democracy, will not attend next week's constitutional convention.

Party chairman Aung Shwe told reporters today (Friday) that Burma's military government rejected its demand to free party leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest in order to attend the gathering. He said, as a result, the National League for Democracy will boycott the convention.

Burma's military government has not commented on the announcement.

Analysts have said the convention, which begins Monday, would be meaningless, if Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy do not participate.

Registration for the convention must be completed today for all delegates who intend to take part. The government has asked more than 11-hundred delegates to attend, including most senior NLD members except Aung San Suu Kyi and the party's vice chairman, Tin Oo.

Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders were taken into custody one year ago, following a confrontation in northern Burma between opposition members and pro-government demonstrators. Most detainees have since been released, except for Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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