Burma,  Democracy

Another Still-Birth of an Election in Burma?


A member of the National League for Democracy uses a laptop with an image of Aung San Suu Kyi at NLD’s head office in Rangoon. (Photo: Reuters)

The cards are stacked against the pro-democracy movement in Burma ahead of the General Election on 7 November as reported by The Irrawaddy.

The date of the 1990 General Election had been announced six months in advance, following a preceding six months to comprehend electoral law and another full year to register and recruit political parties. Twenty years on, there are less than three months to compete with the entrenched proxy parties for the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) which has ruled Burma with neither peace nor development since effecting the cot-death of Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory in 1990.

The principal of these is the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) which was formed more than four months ago, and received considerable Short money in July following the dissolution of the Union Solidarity and Development Association; the enforcers of the SPDC.

The Irrawaddy had charted the brewing of Cyclone Than Shwe, as senior SPDC officials were blown-away by their leader, Senior General Than Shwe. Although, as now confirmed, much of this was in anticipation of their walking through the revolving doors into USDP positions, Shwe is almost 80 years old and in ill-health.

His sudden demise would leave uncertainty, especially as he already has created discord with thoughts of a monarchic succession through his favored grandson, Nay Shwe Thway Aung.

Notable Opposition figures, however, face restrictions based on tortuous justification; not least Aung Sang Suu Kyi who was banned from participation due to retrospective legislation following a barely credible conviction.

The disgust at such ballot-fixing has reached such a crescendo that The Irrawaddy reports many see no option but passive resistance in boycotting the 7 November poll.