Constructive Dialogue is the Solution
covering burma and southeast asia
Friday, December 02, 2022
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2010 predictions

Constructive Dialogue is the Solution


By WIN TIN JANUARY, 2010 - VOLUME 18 NO.1


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Given the terms of the Constitution and the junta’s history, an election will not solve our problems.

Snr-Gen Than Shwe recently told members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association and the War Veterans Association that there will be no review of the Constitution and the 2010 election will be held based on the junta’s seven-step “road map” to democracy. Will the election be held in the first half of the year? Time is running out fast.

WIN TIN, Opposition leader (Photo: Tom Parry)

It’s essential that democracy exists in the period before and after the day of the election. The election in 1990 and the constitutional referendum in 2008 both lacked freedom and fairness.

In the 1990 election, there was no systematic preparation or fairness in voting and vote counting. Likewise, the referendum on the Constitution was conducted during a period of untold suffering after Cyclone Nargis. The country didn’t know how to respond.

Given such a background, if the election is held as scheduled— whether the National League for Democracy contests it or not—the international community should be in a position to confirm the freedom and fairness of the election.

Whether Aung San Suu Kyi runs for office or not, the government formed after the election will not be democratic, because it will be formed in accord with the 2008 Constitution, which is a distortion of democracy based on Than Shwe’s goals of military dominance.

The new government will receive little cooperation from ethnic nationalities. It is questionable how a parliament and government formed under such conditions could foster stability and trust.

We cannot accept the power structure that will emerge after the election. If the election is held as planned, our problems will not be solved. There is only one effective way out, and it is through political dialogue.

As a leader representing the people, Suu Kyi should represent the democratic side. The ethnic nationalities will accept her leadership. In Suu Kyi’s latest moves to engage the junta, perhaps a way forward has emerged.

The idea that the election itself is a way to solve the country’s problems is mistaken. A constructive dialogue is the only way out of the present impasse.

Win Tin is a founding member of the National League for Democracy. He was imprisoned by the Burmese junta for 19 years following the 1988 demonstrations.

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