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Burmese Community and Supporters Hold “People’s Elections” in Davao City, Philippines

By Initiatives for International Dialogue, Bukluran para sa Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa  •  May 27, 2010

Voters Demand Real Elections, Not a Military Selection

The Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) and the Bukluran para sa Sosyalistang Isip at Gawa (BISIG) held a demonstration at the Department of Foreign Affairs office in Davao City today. Over 30 members of the Burmese community and their supporters signed postcards, voting for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and a democratic federal union. The postcards call on the Philippine government to denounce the upcoming 2010 elections in Burma and reject the results unless the regime changes course.

“It is already clear that the military’s elections this year will not be the step forward that Burma needs. Burma’s democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party plus many ethnic groups have already decided that they cannot participate in such sham elections. The people of the Philippines stand with them and the people of Burma in demanding genuine democratic elections, rather than the military’s sham,” said Gus Miclat, Executive Director of IID a Davao-based advocacy and solidarity institution promoting peace, conflict prevention, democratization and the right to self-determination in Southeast Asia.

While generally happy of the Philippine government’s official stance on the issue, Miclat challenged the government and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to “walk their talk” by demanding that the Burmese junta genuinely open up the election process as well as allow the re-drafting of the constitution with the participation of all democratic sectors.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the 1990 elections in Burma, when Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy won a landslide victory with over 80% of votes. The military regime quickly refused to recognize the results, and has continued its repressive rule to this day.

Events are being held today through to 30 May on the Thai-Burma border, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, South Africa, UK, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, US, Canada, and Brazil, marking a Global Day of Action as part of the Global Campaign Against Burma’s 2010 Military Elections. Campaign groups around the world are mobilizing on this day in support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy, and other democratic and ethnic opposition parties who have all taken a strong stance against the regime’s undemocratic elections plans.

“The ‘success’ of the regime’s sham elections will depend on the legitimacy lent by the international community. It is more important than ever that the Philippines through our foreign affairs department send a strong signal to the regime, by denouncing the military elections, unless the regime meets minimum benchmarks, including the release of all political prisoners, end to attacks against ethnic groups, inclusive dialogue and constitutional review,” said Miclat.

The postcard calling for real elections will also be available to sign online shortly. Signed postcards will be gathered until Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday on 19 June, when the People’s Election results will be announced and the postcards delivered to national governments.

The Global Campaign Against Burma’s 2010 Military Elections was initiated by the Ten Alliances of Burma’s democracy and ethnic rights movement, representing the most broad-based and multi-ethnic cooperation of political and civil society organizations from inside and in exile working for national reconciliation, peace, and freedom in Burma. The Campaign is endorsed by over 150 organizations around the world. For details on the events around the world, please visit the campaign website.

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