Indian MPs React to Burma’s Electoral Laws
18 March 2010: In a continuing chain of world reactions to the new Burmese election laws, Indian Parliamentarians yesterday expressed disappointment over the lack of inclusiveness and credibility of the junta’s planned elections this year.
The Indian Parliamentarian’s Forum for Democracy in Burma (IPFDB), said in a statement issued yesterday, that the electoral laws enacted by the military junta earlier this month fall short of minimum democratic standards. The group cites specific provisions in the election laws, which place unfair onus on opposition political parties such as the National League for Democracy to drastically transform themselves or risk being ineligible as constestants, as being fundamentally undemocratic.
“We have expressed our disapproval of the constitution of 2008 in Burma because the genuine peoples’ representatives were not allowed to contribute in the drafting process and the referendum was a sham,” the IPFDB said in a statement.
Parliamentarians from the world’s largest democracy said that the elections will not bring about democratic change in Burma, but instead will prolong the problems in their biggest mainland Southeast Asian neighbor to the east.
The Indian government, which has over the years been forging bilateral ties with Burma’s military junta, however, has so far maintained its silence on the new junta-promulgated elections laws.
“We are worried of continued instabilities in our neighboring countries,” the Parliamentarians said.
An all-party Parliamentarian group on Burma said that the junta must, before its planned elections, release prisoners of conscience, including Aung San Suu Kyi, the true democratic leader, and begin dialogue with her and the legitimate representatives of the ethnic groups so that genuine national reconciliation can take place in Burma.
The IPFDB was founded in 2005 and consists of MPs from across party lines and from both Houses of the Parliament.