The leadership of independent Myanmar was drawn from a somewhat limited elite, mostly English educated, who loved democratic forms of government and preferred Socialist as opposed to Communist socioeconomic goals. The country’s constitution gave the state authority to restrict if not confiscate private property (including that belonging to foreigners) and to nationalize natural resources, transportation, financial institutions, and any other economic activity, including export of the country’s principal product—rice. The constitution, modeled after the British parliamentary system but providing for a federal “union” of the several ethnic groups, had two houses of legislature. The Chamber of Nationalities consisted of 125 members representing the various segments of the population, more or less in proportion to their numbers. The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, consisted of 250 members elected from territorial constituencies irrespective of their ethnic composition. The executive branch was to be headed by the prime minister with a titular president elected by the legislature by rotation from the various ethnic groups. Thus, every effort was made consciously to provide for a balanced polity that would alleviate the historical fears and apprehension of the minorities. To emphasize the new nation’s sovereignty, the Union of Burma (Myanmar) chose to remain outside the British Commonwealth of Nations.