Monday, 14 July 2008

Poll reveals most Burmese ignorant about constitution

Mizzima News
14 July 2008

New Delhi - Many Burmese in Rangoon said, they had no clue about the contents of the recently approved constitution, drafted by the ruling military government, though they voted in its favour.

Despite the junta's claim that its draft constitution has been overwhelmingly supported by 92.48 per cent of all eligible voters, a random survey conducted among residents of Rangoon, Burma's largest city, showed most respondents are unaware of the contents of the constitution that will determine their future.

Of the 50 respondents, in a random telephone survey conducted by Mizzima, only one person, a businessman, said he understood the contents of the constitution and accepted it as he believes it is suitable for the Burmese people.

But the rest of the respondents or 49 people said they have no idea of the contents of the constitution. But ironically, except for two people – a woman shopkeeper and a businessman – the rest or 48 people said they have all cast their votes in favour of the constitution during the referendum conducted in May.

"I don't understand what the constitution is but I just cast my vote to relieve myself from all pressure," said a private vendor in Kyauktada Township.

Similarly, most respondents said they have no time to think of what the constitution is as they are struggling for their daily bread.

Burma's military government on May 10 conducted a referendum across the country to have its draft constitution approved, which they chalked out without the participation of opposition groups.

But the junta was forced to postpone the referendum for 47 townships in Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions to May 24, as the region was reeling under the impact of Cyclone Nargis that hit the area on May 2-3.

Despite international as well as internal condemnation, the junta went ahead with its referendum polling and declared that 92.48 per cent of eligible voters had supported the constitution. The junta also put the voter turn out at 98.12 per cent.

A politically aware youth in Rangoon said most people in Rangoon, where about six million or more than 10 per cent of Burma's population reside, are struggling for their daily bread and the people do not care what the constitution is all about.

"People just want to get on with their lives, and do not have the time and inclination for politics," the youth told Mizzima.

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