Burma’s Opposition Groups Rejects Junta’s Election
9 April 2009: A meeting inclusive of all major Burmese opposition alliances last week on the Thai-Burma border collectively said they are on principle opposed to the junta-planned election in 2010, saying that not rejecting the election would amount to approving a seriously flawed constitution that was passed in what is widely viewed as a rigged referendum in May of 2008.
“Vowing to oppose the 2010 election collectively,” was the motto of the statement after 12th Strategic Consultation Meeting involving seven broad-based oppositional political and civil society alliances, including the Washington-based Burmese exiled government, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). Others included the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC), the National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB), Women League of Burma (WLB), Nationalities Youth Forum (NYF), Student and Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB) and the Forum for Democracy in Burma (FDB).
A democratic transition will not take place nor it will address the political, social and economic crises in the country within the current framework of the constitution developed by the military regime adopted in 2008, the statement declares, adding that a comprehensive review of the constitution and inclusive and substantive political dialogue are the only answers to Burma’s deep-seated problems.
“A common position has now emerged in the opposition – to oppose collectively to the planned election of 2010 and any of the steps of the junta’s ‘roadmap to democracy.’ The approach that each of these groups towards the common aspiration might be different but it is to be delighted that we now have a common ground on which to push forward,” says Victor Biak Lian, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Ethnic Nationalities Council.
The consensus emerging from last week’s meeting has now provided the first collective challenge to the junta’s political process, which has already been widely discredited by the United Nations and the international community. The junta’s constitution is widely viewed by experts and observers as a mere attempt to entrench military rule and deny fundamental human rights.
In May of 2008, amidst the devastating storm Cyclone Nirgis in which hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens were killed, made homeless or displaced, the ruling military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) went ahead with the planned referendum that, according to the regime was approved with more than 90 percent of Burmese citizens.