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Exile Opposition Alliances to Boycott Burma’s 2010 Election

10 October 2009: Five major opposition alliances based in exile have announced in a joint statement today they will boycott Burma’s planned elections.  The announcement followed months of debates and division within the opposition groups on how to respond to the junta’s planned elections set for next year.

“We have decided to boycott the elections and to sabotage the electoral process using various means,” declared the five major alliances, which include the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB), Women’s League of Burma (WLB), Student and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB) and the Nationalities Youth Forum (NYF).

Today’s announcement represents the first collective challenges by Burma’s opposition groups since junta announced it will hold elections, in February last year.

But it also represents a growing dilemma for the various opposition groups.

The Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), a major alliance representing the seven ethnic states, has refrained from condemning the planned elections, although it said that the elections will not lead to democracy. Instead, the ENC has called for supports to prospective ethnic candidates to enable them to keep the military in check within its own constitutional framework.

Meanwhile, state-run media reported that junta chief General Than Shwe has confirmed his intention to go ahead with the elections in 2010.

“The real purpose of the 2010 elections is clear: It seeks to de-legitimize the 1990 elections and their outcome, entrench military rule and its supremacy in Burmese politics, and enslave the entire Burmese citizens by seeking world recognition of the electoral process,” the groups’ statement charged.

However, there has been no official announcement from the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) on whether to participate or boycott the elections. Yesterday, Western diplomats were allowed to meet separately with Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD leadership in Rangoon, although the main focus of the discussions was said to be around the issue of Western sanctions on Burma.

The NLD spokesperson Nyan Win , however, said yesterday that NLD was hoping to meet with detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, although he did not elaborate on when that meeting may take place.

Chinland Guardian

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