Exiled MPs Vow to Continue Fight for Democracy
19 March 2010: Exiled Members of Parliament Elect from the 1990 elections in Burma have vowed to continue the fight for democracy, saying they have a responsibility to carry out the wills of the people as expressed in the 1990 elections.
Members of Parliament Union (MPU), which consists of 33 MPs that have been forced into exile, issued a joint statement with the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), a coalition of opposition groups.
“We believe that we have the responsibility to continue representing the will of the people, and on behalf of our respective constituent members who legally mandated us to carry out their wishes in accordance with the 1990 elections,” the MPU said.
The reaction came as Burma’s ruling military junta comes closer to holding its own new elections with the announcement last week of the establishment of a new Election Commission that will oversee the planned elections later this year.
Burma’s last democratic election held in 1990 was credited by the international community as free and fair. But the results were immediately nullified by the military junta when the opposition parties led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) won decisive victory with more than 80 percent of the votes.
Many of the MPs in that election have either been jailed or forced into exile in the ensuing continued reign by the military junta.
Pu Lian Uk, an MP elect from Chin State’s Hakha constituency, and a member of the MPU told Chinland Guardian, “Neither the military-backed 2008 constitution nor the planned elections have true democratic legitimacy from the people. As elected representatives of the people in an election that was certified by the international community as free and fair, we will continue to fight for the people’s true aspirations.”
He said that no matter how the military regime tries to gain international legitimacy through various dishonest means, history will reveal the true facts.
A lawyer by profession in Burma and nationally respected political activist with decades of experience in various stages of Burma’s opposition political movement, Pu Lian Uk concurs with most Burma’s observers.
“The military constitution of 2008 will not bring about democracy. The military regime has carefully orchestrated this constitution so that it will never have to give up power. The constitution entitles the military regime to stage a coup through constitutional means. So if they [the military] sense that their powers will be threatened, they have given themselves a legitimacy to stage another coup under the current constitution.”
Pu Lian Uk believes that the people should stay away from the polls in the upcoming elections so that the military regime can be denied the legitimacy it desperately needs. He reasons that given the 2008 constitutional referendum in which the regime announced total victory anyway despite evidences that point otherwise, a total boycott of the elections will at least have its place in history to show that the elections were not legitimate.