Myanmar opposition, ethnic groups fail to agree over Constitution

Myanmar's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, said Saturday it has failed to reach a consensus with ethnic political parties over whether to amend the Constitution or rewrite the entire charter, and they will seek public opinion on the matter.

The NLD has been meeting this month with 12 ethnic political parties, including the Arakan League for Democracy and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, at its headquarters in Yangon.

In a statement issued Saturday after the last day of talks, the NLD said there has been no consensus on what to do with the military-crafted Constitution.

Critics say the current Constitution, which was adopted in 2008 while the country was under military rule, was written to favor the military.

Ethnic minority political parties and ethnic rebel groups that have reached cease-fire agreements with the central government have called for writing a new Constitution, saying it would be a faster and easier process.

The NLD has called for amending the Constitution, making that a major party goal.

NLD candidates, including party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, won 43 out of the 44 seats they contested in parliamentary by-elections last year.

The NLD statement said the party believes amending the 2008 Constitution is an essential element to bring the rule of law, peace and genuine democracy to the country.