EU Regrets Burma’s Flawed Electoral Process as ASEAN Jumps to Embrace it
10 November 2010: The European Union expressed regrets that Burma’s junta failed to ensure a free and fair electoral process saying that the poll on November 7 did not meet minimum international standards on elections.
Speaking on behalf of the Council of the European Union, Catherine Ashton reminded, “Elections in themselves do not make a country democratic.” Critics call Burma’s elections a sham that only seeks to entrench military rule.
Citing the restrictions on political parties, freedom of expression and limits to media access, the world’s most powerful regional bloc called the elections in Burma biased, uninclusive and flawed. At the same time the EU acknowledged the participation of several political parties, including the ethnic parties who see the elections as an opportunity for generating greater political space.
Meanwhile, the Association of Southeast Asean Nations (ASEAN), a 10-member regional grouping whose membership also includes Burma, immediately issued a statement embracing the Sunday elections.
“ASEAN welcomes the General Elections as a significant step forward in the implementation of the 7-point Roadmap for Democracy,” says Vietnam ’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, who holds the rotating ASEAN Chairmanship.
In his address before the joint session of the Indian Parliament on Monday evening, US President accused Burma of stealing the elections.
“It is unacceptable to hold the aspirations of an entire people hostage to the greed and paranoia of a bankrupt regime. It is unacceptable to steal an election, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see,” President Obama said.
Burma’s military regime and its proxy the Union Solidarity and Development Partry (USDP) stand accused of widespread vote rigging, voter intimidation and electoral fraud during the November 7 national elections.