Burma Partnership, Strengthening Cooperation for a Free Burma
Signup Now!
Join our mailing list for latest news and information about Burma.

Junta’s Announcement of Election Laws Paints Dire Image

By Burma Partnership  •  March 10, 2010

On 8 March, the Burma’s military regime announced it had enacted the election law for this year’s polls, but did not set a date for the general election. State-run television reported that details of the laws would be published as supplements in the junta’s newspapers over the coming days. So far, the Union Election Commission and Political Parties Registration Laws have been made public, painting a dire image of the elections that lay ahead.

From what has been released so far, here are some notable points:

  • The Election Commission will be handpicked by the regime. The Commission will have the authority to convene the election, final decision-making power throughout, and the ability to administer and direct political parties. This means that the elections will unfold according to the junta’s wishes.
  • Most key political figures are barred from forming or participating in the elections. Articles 4 and 10 of the Political Parties Registration Law also bans democracy organizations or armed groups who oppose the junta, and those receiving support from outside Burma. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and many democracy and ethnic leaders will be unable to participate.
  • All political parties must pledge to abide by and protect the 2008 Constitution, which has been criticized as being undemocratic and fundamentally flawed. This shows the regime does not envision the elections and the ensuing government to be a transformative step towards true democracy, but rather a means to maintain power.
  • Deadline of 60 days. Article 25 gives all political parties, including existing parties such as the National League for Democracy (NLD), 60 days to register with the Commission. If the NLD decides to re-register, it will be required to exclude Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and any other leaders and members who are in prisons. The Commission will have the authority to approve or reject any registration.
  • The elections may not be held in many ethnic areas. The Election Commission has the power to determine if the election should be held in those places that are affected by “natural catastrophe or security reasons”. This may mean there will be no polling in areas controlled by armed ethnic organizations that have signed cease-fire agreements but failed to transform into the Border Guard Force under the control of the regime’s Army.

Democracy forces inside and outside Burma, as well as the international community, have repeatedly called for dialogue towards national reconciliation, and free and fair elections. However, based on these newly-released laws, the outlook for the elections appears to be what has been feared all along – a sham designed to keep the junta in power.

The Union Election Commission Law is available in Burmese or English.

The Political Parties Registration Law in only available in Burmese at this time. Read more about it in English from Mizzima News and The Irrawaddy.

Thank you to the US Campaign for Burma and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma for their analysis.

Tags: , ,

This post is in: 2010 Elections, Blog

Related Posts
Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice
Burma Army Displays Blatant Disregard for 21st Century Panglong Peace Process
Ann Din Coal Power Plant: Local Movement and Action to Preserve and Protect Natural Resources and Land: Mon IDP Report Case Study #4
Latest Human Rights Abuse Case Demonstrates Urgent Need to Reform the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
Human Rights Far From Guaranteed as US Sanctions on Burma Are Removed