Barriers Plague Burmese November 7 Elections
October 1, 2010
By: Chinyelu Odunze | Printer Friendly
For these elections to be free and fair, many challenges must be overcome, according to a New York Times article. The article reports that one barrier to the upcoming elections is that the Election Commission (EC), was appointed by the regime and filled with loyalists who barred opposition candidates from running.
Another obstacle facing the upcoming elections is that the Burmese junta dissolved five political parties this September. According to AFP, the parties were dissolved for failing to officially register for the country’s upcoming parliamentary election. Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, was one of the parties barred from the elections.
As a result, according to the New York Times, the NLD and their allies have rejected the regime’s constitution and have agreed to boycott the upcoming elections. Nevertheless, the NLD and its allies refuse to abandon their democratic aspirations for Burma, believing that refusing to participate in these elections will further isolate the ruling regime.
According to the New York Times, it is likely that military-rule will continue but under the guise of civilian rule. Officials of the regime have switched to civilian dress, transformed their mass organization into their political party, and are campaigning with state resources
The New York Times article also reports that the election commission has violated its mandate in favor of the prime minister’s party and other regime parties. According to the article, “the regime is determined to capture almost all of the contested seats in the national and state parliaments by use of fraud and threats.”
The AP asserts that meaningful dialogues between the military, the National League for Democracy and ethnic representatives could bring about a peaceful solution for Burma.
Foreign Policy reports “the regime is less interested in establishing a democracy than in resisting pariah status on the international stage and forestalling discontent at home.” The New York Times asserts that if the international community effectively puts serious pressure on the regime, external pressure combined with internal peaceful resistance could force the regime to agree to dialogue.
AP - Myanmar's prime minister issues election warning
AFP - Suu Kyi's Myanmar opposition party protests dissolution
Foreign Policy - The Junta's Soft Landing
New York Times - An Election Not Worthy of Support