The 2008 Constitution and the 2010 Elections: Without Inclusiveness, Problems Will Remain Unresolved
December 1, 2009
The general population of Mon State and other parts of Burma think that the 2010 elections, and any new transformation of power that might result from them, will just be like ‘putting old wine into the new bottle’. The “taste” will be the same, and their suffering of various political, economic, cultural, and human rights violations will be similar.
The international community, the US government, ASEAN countries, and the opposition political parties in Burma have all demanded the release of political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; these parties have also demanded a review of the 2008 constitution to make it more inclusive. These demands must be met if the SPDC intends to hold free and fair elections in 2010.
Additionally, there is a need for inclusiveness within Burma’s various ethnic political parties. There must be a period in which a countrywide ceasefire is declared, and a political dialogue between armed insurgent political parties must be initiated.
Currently, the Burmese military regime wants to hold its elections without the wider participation of pro-democracy political parties and ethnic opposition groups. Without considering the inclusion of both pro-democracy and ethnic opposition parties, the elections will be meaningless, unfair and undemocratic.
Both in the 1988 pro-democracy uprising and the 2007 “Saffron Revolution”, the people showed their clear desire for political reform and the establishment of peace and democracy. Therefore, if there is no conclusive resolution to the coming elections, the armed conflicts will likely continue and human rights abuses in the ethnic areas of the country will remain a key problem. Similarly, in the heart of Burma thousands of political prisoners will remain in Burma’s notorious jails, and their un-incarcerated, pro-democracy colleagues will always find more opportunities to demonstrate and to announce their political goals. These problems could explode at any time, and the people of Burma will continue to suffer.