YANGON, Myanmar Myanmar's military government said Tuesday it had enacted a law laying out the procedures for a May referendum on a new constitution. It did not set a date for the vote.
On Feb. 9, the government announced plans for the referendum, the first time the junta has set specific dates for steps in a so-called "roadmap to democracy." The plans have been widely criticized for failing to include any input from opponents of military rule.
The government also said Tuesday that a 45-member Referendum Convening Commission has been established to oversee the process. The announcement was broadcast on state TV and radio evening news.
Myanmar has not had a constitution since 1988, when the current junta took power after violently suppressing mass pro-democracy demonstrations. The army has ruled the country virtually continuously since a 1962 coup.
Tuesday's announcement said the 12-chapter referendum law covers matters including preparation of electoral rolls, voting, postponement and cancellation of voting, vote counting, announcement of the results, restrictions and punishments for violations of its statutes.
It said the law will be published Wednesday in all three state-run newspapers. Only the chapter titles were read on the news reports.
The Referendum Convening Commission is chaired by Chief Justice Aung Toe, the announcement said. The names of all 45 members were read, and most were representatives of the country's ethnic minorities, as well as at least two legal experts.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been under international pressure to make democratic reforms, especially since it violently quashed peaceful mass protests last September. The U.N. estimates at least 31 people were killed and thousands more were detained in the crackdown.