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article imageOp-Ed: November 7 sham election date announced in Burma

By R. C. Camphausen     Aug 13, 2010 in World
The government's election committee in Myanmar has finally announced that November 7 will be the date of the first elections to be held in 20 years. Most people who follow the news, however know this to be mere window dressing.
The 48 million citizens of Burma, named Myanmar by the ruling military junta, have heard on the radio that the long promised elections will be held on November 7, 2010. For years, the dictatorial junta has been pressured by the international community to hold parliamentary elections that would result in a civilian government and return democracy to Burma.
The generals, apparently convinced that they would not win such elections, have prepared for the poll by dissolving the largest opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and by making sure that Mrs Aung San Suu Kye or any of her allies are not on the ballot. In addition, a number of high ranking men have quit the military and are now civilians.
Apart from that, the World Bulletin reminds us, the ruling generals have started several new parties that will - if they get seats - do their bidding. The website says: At least seven parties registered with the election commission are believed to be proxies of the military, which will retain control of key ministries and enjoy a 25 percent quota of parliamentary seats under a new constitution.
The armed forces chief will be more senior than the president. There are no indications an estimated 2,000 political prisoners will be released before or after the elections.
Recently, the Democratic Voice of Burma quoted Ban Ki-moon as calling these elections a lost opportunity, which is diplomatic language for what a non-diplomat, like myself, calls a sham. A poll rigged this way can never lead to a democratic government. Here's the quote:
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon in a press conference on Monday admitted feeling frustrated with the military government and warned that controversial upcoming elections could be a ‘lost opportunity’.
For an inside report on the general situation in Burma, read this video-accompanied Digital Journal report about the junta's war on the country's indigenous peoples.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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