Political Promise

Burma’s Long Anticipated Election Is Not Worth The Wait

In Elliot Colburn on April 2, 2010 at 9:07 am

Burma has not had an election for 20 years, not since 1990 when the Burmese National League for Defence (NLD) won the election. However, they were never allowed to take power. Now, in the first election in Burma since then, the NLD are boycotting the election. This is as a result of “unjust” electoral laws.

The Leader of the NLD, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been imprisoned for many years for her support of democracy. Under the new laws, anyone with a criminal record cannot run for election. This rules out Aung San Suu Kyi and many activists in the party. Some western citizens would generally agree that criminals shouldn’t be allowed to run for public office, however as Suu Kyi has been imprisoned for her liberal beliefs, this decision has been denounced. It also does nothing to quell international anxiety about Burmese political standards.

The NLD refuse to oust their leader and similarly have refused to take part in the upcoming election that the military has promised this year. This action has been supported by Suu Kyi, and consequently the party has been dubbed illegal. Some commentators believed that if unable to take part, the NLD would reject Suu Kyi, however they so far stand strong behind her. Nevertheless, this may also be a precautionary measure.  On Independence Day in January, Burma’s military leader Than Shwe urged people to make what he called the “correct choices” when elections are held. In reality this means ‘don’t vote NLD or you’ll be killed’.

Well the NLD has now removed that risk, as they are no longer standing, and let’s be honest, even if they stood and won, they wouldn’t be allowed to form the government anyway. The Burmese have lost their hope for democracy, and unless some intervention takes place, either by revolution or international intervention, it’ll never be introduced properly. Suu Kyi will not be leader of Burma this time, and who knows when the next election will take place?

Elliot Colburn

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