Tuesday, 8 July 2008

NLD Challenged to Contest 2010 Election

The Irrawaddy News

The Burmese opposition group, the National League for Democracy (NLD), was challenged by the military government on Sunday to form a political party to contest the 2010 national election and to forget the results of the “illegal” 1990 election.

An article, “Goodbye 1990 Election Results,” published in the state-backed New Light of Myanmar, said the landslide victory of the NLD in the 1990 general election is now “illegal,” because it “has been ditched by the entire people [sic] who are desirous of the emergence of a new, modern-developed democratic nation.”

“This being so, the NLD’d better join hands with the people and then stand for the 2010 election in line with the laws instead of longing for the result of the 1990 election,” the article said.

In the 1990 election, NLD candidates won 82 percent of the parliamentary seats, but the results were not honored by the military government which continued to retain power. Articles of a political nature that appear in the newspaper are considered to have the approval of the military government.

The government has officially said that 92.48 percent of people who cast ballots in the constitutional referendum held in May voted “yes” for the state-drafted constitution.

The NLD does not recognize the referendum results. Prior to the vote, voicing opposition to the referendum process or the draft constitution was declared illegal by the junta.

NLD party officials dismissed the article as junta-sanctioned propaganda.

Thein Nyunt, an NLD spokesperson who is also a lawyer, said, “Lawfully, the results of the 1990 election cannot vanish. Politically, it [the results] reflected the will of Burmese people. It insults the will of the people to say the result is illegal.”

“An election is meant to reflect the future of the country,” he said. “The authorities should have honored the election’s result.”

Aye Thar Aung, the chairman of the Arakan League for Democracy and secretary of the Committee Representing the People's Parliament (CRPP) “We can’t accept the ‘seven-step road map’ including the state constitution. We also don’t agree with the coming election or the formation of political parties.”

The CRPP was formed in September 1998 and includes the 1990-elected parliament members and ethnic leaders in Burma.

“The junta can hold the election by force,” he said, “but it will not really benefit the people.”

Aye Thar Aung said national reconciliation was needed between the government, opposition groups and ethnic groups before conducting a national election.

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