Monday, July 6, 2009

Shan candidates running on junta ticket warned


Shans who are considering invitation by the country’s ruling military council to contest the upcoming elections must see to it that they obtain prior consent of the people in their respective constituencies, a leader of an armed opposition group recently told SHAN.

He was speaking in response to SHAN’s query: “Some prominent Shans who have been approached by junta officials to enter elections in the yet-to-be-formed party’s banner have expressed concern. If they don’t accept the invitation, they will run risk of being included in the junta’s blacklist and if they do, they will run another kind of risk – ostracism by their own Shan community, and worse, termination by the armed movements such as yours. What do you suggest they do?”

“We won’t bother anyone whom the people are willing to vouch for,” he promised. “But no responsibility shall be taken for anyone who fails to seek the people’s approval first. Whatever happens to them, they have only themselves to blame.”

Halfway through 2009, there is no indication of an impending announcement on the election law by the country’s military rulers. However, since official go-ahead was given to the junta-drafted constitution in May 2008, government officials, government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) officials and those from the National Unity Party (NUP) that was formed by the military in 1988 have already been busy canvassing for popular support.

Shan, the biggest state in the Union, has several armed groups. Those that enjoy ceasefire agreement with Rangoon include United Wa State Army (UWSA), and Shan State Army “North” to name a few. Non-ceasefire groups include Shan State Army (SSA) “South”, PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) and Wa National Organization (WNO).

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