Friday, December 19, 2008

2010 game plan: Clinging to power

Mizzima News
18 December 2008

More bad news has emerged from Burma again this month. The junta is planning to showcase its so-called civilian government with their handpicked people by changing their uniforms to mufti after the junta's planned 2010 general election. In our country, there is news blackout all the time and only Senior Gen. Than Shwe has the final say in everything. The junta kept the news regarding the planning of this general election a secret. It is the 5th step of their 7-step roadmap to democracy.

Their plans do not adhere to national reconciliation, neither for establishing a peaceful and developed country, but only for clinging to power. In their secret scheme, they winked at their staunch supporters and sympathizers to conduct organizational works. The election law is not yet made public and is being enacted in order to give little time to the opposition forces in their preparation for the polls by this dilatory tactics.

There can be three probable paths to follow in the post-2010 scenario. The first one is filling all 440 seats in parliament with generals, army personnel-turned politicians and their 'Yes' men by all possible means of letting them exclusively contest in this election and vote rigging. The second way is seat sharing between armed forces and the opposition through negotiation. The third way is holding free and fair election like in 1990.

After reviewing all their activities until today, the first path will be the most likely way that will be chosen by the ruling generals led by Snr. Gen. Than Shwe. They will do their best to marginalize the 'National League for Democracy' (NLD) including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy forces in this general election.

In this programme, the high army posts and the National Security Council is likely to be filled with generals and senior ministers. The current serving ministers can become new ministers by contesting in this election. About 110 seats in parliament are reserved exclusively for army personnel and the remaining 330 will be filled at the choice of the ruling generals. They are designing this election to restrict the number of seats going to persons who are not of their choice. They would be the ones who are unstoppable and will not comprise more than 10 per cent.

The serving ministers and mayors who have to change their uniforms after election have started canvassing in their constituencies. Similarly some regional commanders are rehearsing to be elected as the 'Chief Minister of the Region or State' in their controlled areas.

Freedom and justice can be hardly expected from this planned election. Those who hope for reform through the new parliament can only hope.

It will be silly and naïve if the ruling generals expect to win legitimacy through this election and get recognition by the international community. Similarly they have no chance to isolate themselves as done by their predecessor Gen. Ne Win in the age of globalization and Information Technology, which have no borders. They will certainly bring big challenges and a collapse with a sad ending.

But all of these things cannot take place spontaneously and dynamically. Those who wish to transform our society to respecting human rights and open society under these changing and developing situations should make preparations well in advance.

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