Friday, February 27, 2009

Burmese election will be a sham and change nothing

The Nation

Once again, UN and US pleas for the release of all political prisoners in Burma will be met with deafening silence, as is always the case where the Burmese junta is concerned.

It should be evident to the UN, the US and the EU that the junta is determined to carry on its charade of a 2010 election. Everyone knows that this fiasco is aimed at cementing the regime's rule through some "democratic" trappings and is in no way going to lead to real democratisation and reconciliation.

Just as a reminder, the constitution is drawn by the military and the election rules will be the same. In the end, the junta will be allotted 25 per cent of the seats without election and the rest will be for its self-created USDA-like parties or affiliates. It is all going to be stage-managed. A few individual parties will be allowed to contest, for the sake of window-dressing, and nothing radical will come out of it.

The junta could create a turning point for the better, just in a single day, simply by releasing all political prisoners, calling for a nationwide ceasefire and implementing a process of reconciliation and all-inclusiveness in the political arena.

However, this scenario is just wishful thinking. The world body and influential stakeholders can only make a difference by imposing a new, fair game plan, rather than going along with the junta's self-serving roadmap.

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