Time for junta to be serious
The Burmese junta’s announcement that the time has now come to change from military rule to democratic civilian rule and multi-party election would be held in 2010 is a surprise, although the move could neither be seen as a step forward nor just usual stalling tactics of the junta to cling on to power indefinitely.
By: Sai Wansai, 10
Most of the regime’s critics are not convinced, given the fact that election
could be held in 2010 as planned, when the result of constitutional
referendum, which is only due in May of this year and the outcome is still far
Perhaps looking at it from the junta’s perspective, it might have been considered a done deal, if the rigged 1974 constitutional referendum, which was stage-managed and coerced by the then military regime sailed through unopposed, could be taken as an indication. In other words, the junta will pull it through, by hook or by crook.
And if the referendum could be manipulated, the junta might as well do the same with 2010 nation-wide election.
of such speculation, the junta should be given the benefit of the doubt. To
prove its good will, sincerity and seriousness against all stakeholders. It
could definitely implement some basic confidence-building, which are within its
bound and capacity.
The first thing the junta could do is improving or creating a favourable political climate, which includes among others, the unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Khun Htoon Oo, General Hsur Hten and all political prisoners; declaring nation-wide cease-fire with all ethnic resistance armies; facilitating freedom of expression and freedom to form and operate political organisation.
With the improving political climate, the junta’s constitutional blue print could be discussed in an open and transparent manner, leading to an acceptable constitution after some adjustment or amendment made by all stakeholders within Burma arena. After this, the agreed draft constitution would be ready for referendum, which preferably could be held under the auspices of the United Nations.
Once this get started, it will gain momentum and the rest will fall into place. All that is urgently needed now is a sincere political will for a better change from the junta.
The junta needs to understand that the key words to real reconciliation and democratisation is none other than “all-inclusiveness, political accommodation and levelled playing field”. Anything less would only mean the continuation of tyrannical rule and total control of the populace, which, in turn, would be met with resistance again and again, as have been evident by the recent, September Saffron Revolution, the 1962, 1974 and 1988 mass uprisings.
It is high time for the junta to seriously push for a civilised and smooth change in real words and deeds.
The author is the General Secretary of the Shan Democratic Union (SDU) - Editor