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Published On:Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian

Myanmar Elections 2010: Cock-and-bull story

The night of 7th November 2010 cannot be compared to that of 27th May 1990 when the people were overwhelmed by the landslide win of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This time the people were more like watching a magic show. The lion, the symbol of the USDP, comes out of the magician’s hat. But the people are not amused.

by Dr. Tint Swe
(The views expressed are his own)

(November 10, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) No one expected the November election in Burma to be free or fair. Some governments are inclined to contend with relatively flawed elections practices. Some people in Burma held the view that something is better than nothing. The political parties which contested anticipated fair play. The voters thought their votes will be counted correctly. The non-junta candidates relied on peoples’ verdict. All expectations have gone wrong.

The game was overpowered by the referee and the linesmen. The government employees were instructed to do advance voting in presence of the respective officials. The villagers were summoned to do so in front of the village heads. The soldiers and their families had to do so before the commanders.

The Union Election Commission had thoroughly prepared and made everything ready. The effective weapon used was “advance voting”.

A large number of candidates were overwhelmed on that evening (7th November) when the votes counted were in their favor. But it lasted only a couple of hours and the higher level election commission officials managed to bring bags full of so-called advance votes ticked presumably by one single pen. Then the so-called official announcement turned the tables. All goes to the Union Solidarity and Development Party which is expected to secure not less than 80% for all three levels of parliament. This is the preset target, as 75% votes are necessary to amend the controversial and one-sided constitution nick named Nargis constitution as the referendum was held in the midst of the devastating cyclone.

The two largest pro-democracy parties, the National Democratic Force (NDF) and the Democratic Party (Myanmar) have conceded. U Khin Maung Swe, leader of the (NDF), the largest opposition party said, "We took the lead at the beginning but the USDP later came up with so-called advance votes and that changed the results completely, so we lost." The Democracy party had a similar fate.

The state-run newspaper the New Light of Myanmar published that the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) had won 91 seats, the PaO National Organization 11 seats, the Taaung Palaung National Party 12 seats, the Kayin State Democracy and Progress Party and National Unity Party won 2 seats each and the Wa Democratic Party 4 seats.

The night of 7th November 2010 cannot be compared to that of 27th May 1990 when the people were overwhelmed by the landslide win of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of detained leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This time the people were more like watching a magic show. The lion, the symbol of the USDP, comes out of the magician’s hat. But the people are not amused.

There are non-junta winners in the ethnic areas but they can only sit at regional assemblies under the appointed Chief Ministers who will call the shots.

While the people and political parties are battling with flawed election practices, tens of thousands of the people on Thai-Burma border are fleeing from the battle between the Burmese army and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) at Myawaddy and Three-pagoda pass. The leader of the DKBA known as “Mr. Moustache” said that they are fighting to express disapproval of the unfair election and also reiterated that Aung San Suu Kyi is the national leader of Burma. So the battle is more political.

It seems against the tradition of India as well as that of Burma for a guest to speak what the host does not want to hear. However U.S. President Barack Obama went the American way and talked about Burma at a joint session of the two houses of the Indian parliament. He said “Faced with such gross violations of human rights, it is the responsibility of the international community especially leaders like the United States and India to condemn it.” He continued that but speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves is not interfering in the affairs of other countries. It’s not violating the rights of sovereign nations. It is staying true to our democratic principles.

At any rate the Burmese pro-democracy movement will be wrong if they expect any favourable move from India. The argument that, if India wants to be in the UN Security Council it should take more global responsibilities, is mere rhetoric. Look China and Russia, also members of the UNSC, do not care for human rights and democracy.

(Dr. Tint Swe is an elected member of Parliament from Burma from the NLD now living in F-15, Vikas Puri, New Delhi and can be reached at his mobile- 981-000-3286, e-mail drswe01@gmail.com) Tell a Friend

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