Stage set for General Elections upon further demise of democracy in Mayanmar?
(Madan Menon Thottasseri)
The entire world will not forget that the military juntas had shown scant respects to U.N and the whole spectrum of International Organisations that stands for democracy, human rights, global peace etc. while, the winner of the European parliament’s Sakharov Human Prize and the Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, both in the year 1991 was not permitted to go in person to receive these awards. She had no other go than to reject the offer to free her provided she leaves politics and the country. She showed the magnanimity to earmark the entire Peace Prize money of US$ 1.3 million to form a Trust for Education and Health of her people. A group of Nobel Peace Laureates wanted to meet her in 1993, but the Military Juntas refused permission for their entry into Burma. They had to compromise to call for the release of Suu Kyi by forwarding messages through refugees at the Thai-Burma boarder.
Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the living legend and icon of democracy for the whole world, had started her struggle for freedom incidentally on India's 41st Anniversary of Independence - 15th August,1988 by sending an Open Letter to the Burmese military which was running savage regime after the resignation of General Ne Win on 23rd July,1988. The General was the Dictator since 1962. She formed her Party NLD (National League for Democracy) on 24th September, 1988. Despite the house arrest in July, 1990, she could bring victory to NLD 82% of Parliamentary constituencies and was elected as Prime Minister. It was a different storey that the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) refused to recognize the landslide victory of NLD in the said election.
Military juntas could scheme against NLD while announcing elections facilitating an opposition-free winning of pro-junta USD (Union for Social Development).The conspiracy to prevent pro-democracy movements to field candidates by fixing an unimaginable amount as the election fee will set the world record for maneuver elections by any dictatorial regime. USD is the only party which could afford to position candidates to all seats for more than 1000 constituencies. Parties have complained that they have been given insufficient time to prepare and the registration fee, at $500 per candidate, is arduous in a country where the per capita income is less than $600 a year.
The main impediment for NLD is that the Party has to exclude the presently imprisoned members including the leader Aung San Suu Kyi so as to participate in polls. The stipulation was actually tailor-made to prevent the icon of democracy in contesting in the election. Currently Aung San Suu Kyi is serving an 18 month detention which expires only on 13 November, 2010.
NLD has been dissolved when it had failed to register to contest in elections to be held in November, 2010. Other four more parties are also in the list of dissolved parties. Only 37 political parties out of a total of 42 are to contest in the said elections.NLD which had actually won the 1990 election by a landslide, was ‘automatically abolished’ when it did not register within the time frame to contest in polls, the state-run TV reported on Tuesday 14 September,2010. The National Democracy Force, a splinter group from the NLD, somehow could field about 160 candidates. NDF leaders may be hoping for backing from Aung Suu Kyi.
Myanmar’s Juntas' regime is all set to stage the country’s first General Election in 20 years on 07 November, 2010 November for Lower, Upper and Regional Parliaments.
NLD spokesmanwho met Suu Kyi on Tuesday , 2 August,2010 itself so as to seek her views on the coming polls had declared in a press conference that when asked whom her supporters should vote for at the polls, Suu Kyi had answered "It is clear. Do not vote!”
NLD had opted not to contest election as its participation will be possible only by dropping its leader. May be the Party will cease to be a legal political entity. Aung Din who heads the U.S campaign for Burma had commented that NLD will continue to be a big political force. He was confident that the movement can pressurize on the elected regime to have the dialogue for national reconciliation in exchange for recognizing elections and dropping sanctions.
Military Juntas are not expected to invite independent observers to monitor the polls and Myanmar's press is notoriously uncritical of the regime. "People should file complaints to the police directly if they witness unfair and unlawful acts in the election," Suu Kyi had said.
Despite sanctions announced by U.S against Burma, the neighboring nations have not isolated the Juntas' regime. We have to know that Myanmar (Burma) has become a member of the ASEAN. It is high time that U.S and the Pentagon encourage stake holders in Burma to engage in dialogue towards national reconciliation at least after the elections.