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2010 elections ‘unacceptable’, Burmese activists call Junta for dialogue

Originally appeared in Northern Philippine Times

February 28, 2010

By Gina Dizon
(2nd of 2 Parts)

Burmese revolutionaries and activists say the 2010 elections is not the answer for a democratic change in Burma, nor will it lead to national reconciliation. Instead, they ask for a dialogue with the junta-led State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) for a review of the 2008 Constitution, release of all political prisoners, and recognition of the 1990 elections.

Khun Myint Tun, Labor Minister of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) of the National League of Democracy (NLD) considers the 2010 elections as ‘unacceptable’ with the non-recognition of the 1990 election winners. He agrees with NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who stated, “Holding a new election without recognizing the 1990 election results is like playing a dangerous game with the country’s future. That is why we cannot accept a new election.”

The transfer of power to the Members of Parliament who won the 1990 elections is a top demand of the NCGUB.

The NLD won 82% of seats in Parliament during the 1990 elections but their legitimacy was not recognized with the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi. State Law and Order restoration Council (SLORC) then did not convene the Parliament 60 days after the elections. The NLD then met two months after the 1990 elections and passed the Ghandhi Declaration calling for the transfer of power to the NLD as the winning party and convening of the Parliament.

Yet, Khun Myint Tun who is also Member of Secretariat of the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) says, “The SPDC never granted a dialogue up to now despite repeated requests. It is obvious that they want to continue their own military rule. In November 11, 2009, NLD reminded General Than Shwe on the calls of the Shwe Gon Daing Declaration. Up to now, we did not get a response”, he said.

NLD issued the Shwe Gon Doing Declaration in April 1009 which demands release of all political prisoners, review of the 2008 Constitution, and a dialogue. The dialogue calls for the recognition of the 1990 elections and transfer of power to the elected members of Parliament.

“The minimum that we demand from SPDC is to review and amend the 2008 Constitution. But if there is no release of political prisoners and no review of the Constitution, NLD will boycott the 2010 elections”, Khun Myint Tun said.

Release of all political prisoners is a top demand of the Shwe Gon Daing Declaration.

In 2007, there were only a thousand plus political prisoners. Now, there are 2200 political prisoners. “This means, the democratic movement is growing and the people are restless and hopeful”, Secretary General Naw San of the Students and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB) said.

The Burmese militants and activists are one in saying the democratic movement inside Burma is increasing with more people getting informed and enlightened of their rights.

Democratic activists call for international support “not to support the 2010 elections if meaningful dialogue is not granted”.

National Democratic Front (NDF) spokesperson and Secretary General Min Bone Kyew said, “We ask the international community including the UN, ASEAN and the European Union to apply more effective pressure upon the SPDC. We urge the international community to ask the SPDC to cease its acts against ethnic nationalities, impose UN arms embargo, block capital investments, impose sanctions, and call on SPDC to hold an inclusive political dialogue for national reconciliation.”

“At the same time, we are calling for legal action against the SPDC in the US Federal Court and UN’s International Criminal Court (ICC). Military abuses of persons in power are separately dealt with from the call for meaningful dialogue from the SPDC”, Khun Myint said.

This post is in: News Clip