Burma’s Electoral Process Unfair, Says Asian Watchdog
02 September 2010: The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) last Tuesday said the election in Burma may not be acceptable to the international community as the military junta is doing all but to win election at all cost.
The report released on 31 August 2010 said: “The UEC (Union Election Commission) of Burma must stop all attempts by political parties to misuse state resources in their favour and also for their campaign failing which, the UEC’s actions cannot be considered neutral and non-partisan.”
“It must be made clear that election observation is possible only if the conditions provided are free and fair and are in sync with the international principles guiding a democratic electoral process.”
Government-backed USDP (United Solidarity Democratic Party), accused of using state facilities and human resources for the election campaign, has had unfair advantages over other political parties in their operations, with more opportunity in meeting people, directly or indirectly in introducing their members, according to the report.
The unfair advantage the USDP enjoys in terms of their political status and powers to recruit members either by manipulative tactics or by force are unacceptable. Their media control and populist policies, which have been designed to favour the USDP, needs to be questioned as it gives them an unfair advantage over the other parties.
In any democratic process, all parties and candidates should have the right to comment or criticize other parties on their policies and performances in the past. Opposition and new parties must be given sufficient room to fully showcase and introduce themselves to people in any public without threat, obstruction or violence.
The 12- member election watchdog from coutries across Asia also stated that Burma’s election will not be credible due to the overall involvement of the military, the media being restricted under total control and censorship, lack of transparency in voting, and absence of mechanism in place to check the voter lists.
The ANFREL called on the ASEAN to review such doubtful forms of electoral processes and ensure that the democratic election in Burma does not violate the three basic rights – freedom of expression, assembly and association.
As a regional election observation group which supports the process of democratization through a free and fair electoral process, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) considers it important to make its position clear in the larger interest of democracy in Burma.
Van Biak Thang