Suu Kyi's Election Year Role Still in Doubt
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Election watch

Suu Kyi's Election Year Role Still in Doubt

By AUNG NAING OO Tuesday, February 23, 2010


When the Burmese military government said it would hold  a general election in 2010, many Burmese strongly suspected that the junta would find an excuse to keep pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in detention—perhaps until after polling had taken place.

Their worst fears were confirmed when John Yettaw, an American citizen, swam across Inya Lake to the democracy icon’s home, handing Burma’s ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) the perfect opportunity. A weird criminal trial of Suu Kyi ensued—obviously politically motivated— and the Burmese heaped blame on Yettaw for the events that unfolded later.

In the end, the Burmese government succeeded in placing Suu Kyi back under house arrest with an 18-month suspended prison sentence. Mission accomplished!

Despite the disappointment, the events did not come as a surprise for the Burmese. For the past two decades, Suu Kyi has been a constant thorn in the junta’s side.

The generals have grappled with a major dilemma about how to handle the charismatic and highly principled daughter of the country’s revered independence hero. They wanted to reorder Burma’s political structure in a way that assures military power while providing a semblance of civilian rule. But Suu Kyi  stood in their way.

The 2010 general election is the final episode in the SPDC’s political transformation plan, and the generals will in no way allow anyone or anything to disrupt it. There are many seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the road to an election this year, but the continued incarceration of Suu Kyi essentially removes one of them.   

The Yettaw court case ended in August 2009. Whether calculated mathematically or judged by political considerations, it is not hard to conclude that if Suu Kyi is required to serve out her full sentence of 18 months she will not be free until January or February 2011—perhaps a few months after the 2010 election. It was a plan superbly hatched and perfectly executed.

Towards the end of January, however, the news agency Reuters carried an unconfirmed report quoting Minister of Home Affairs Maj-Gen Maung Oo telling a meeting in central Burma that Suu Kyi would be freed by this November.

Judging by the release of the National League for Democracy's  Vice-Chairman, Tin Oo, on completion of his house arrest sentence, it is probable that Suu Kyi will be released as Maung Oo promised. But this coincides with another rumor predicting that the election will take place on the astrologically correct date October 10, 2010 or 10-10-10.

These rumors are significant. They can be considered a hint of what the SPDC has in mind for Suu Kyi.

The SPDC will need to free her as soon as possible because her release is the key to ending international sanctions and the country’s isolation. The next government will need to work efficiently to tackle the huge problems facing the country and it cannot afford to be bogged down by undue international pressure.

I still hope that the unfolding events later this year may prove wrong for those like me, who are skeptical on the prospects for her pre-election freedom. I doubt it, however. I cannot believe the generals will release her before the election, and it is unlikely that any amount of protests and pressure either from within or outside the country would be able to change that.

Not only is her release before the election improbable, but so also is her potential candidacy in the election.

In the 1990 election, Suu Kyi was unable to register her candidacy, which was rejected on the grounds that she was married to a foreigner. She was also under house arrest at the time.

The 1990 election was held in the absence of a constitution. This time around, Suu Kyi is not even constitutionally eligible. The 2008 constitution has several provisions that critics say were particularly designed to serve as obstacles to her potential candidacy in any poll.

At first glance, the charter appears to make the political system —and the potential to hold office—open to anyone.

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Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
1.We are royalists. As a teenager,we know,our claimant in exile to the throne of Burma, Shwebomin II, who has not been home for 48 years, would pump bullets into ShuMaung's head.

2.SLORC did save Burma; it may sound strange or stupid but true; our would be king understands very well. Tragedy was Butcher of Rangoon, Sein Lwin, was still in charge of MI.

3.Sen.Gen SawMaung was a pure career soldier, without political kudos; but he did his job of stabilizing the 'state'; SPDC evolved to correct ShuMaung's wrong doings.

4.Because of ShuMaung,Suu Kyi was made famous without her doing anything for Burmese people; she is a pure opportunist through and through.Shu Maung's Burmese Way to Socialism was the most stupid thing.

5.Under ShuMaung, Burma had worst of both worlds: bankruptcy coupled with inability to get rid of rebellion in the name of self-determination that actually attempts to balkanise Burma.

6.The SPDC has vision although they may not get everything right.They adhered to Shwebomin's commands.

7.Saw Maung retired peacefully.

K Wrote:
Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF: Judging from your previous posts, you seemed to be not very fond of U Shumaung and his BSPP regime. I generally believe BSPP and SLORC/SPDC are from a same group of people. Apparently they are not. Could you explain
(1) why the SPDC dislikes U Shumaung and
(2) what happened to the late SLORC's chief Saw Maung (and his eventual dismissal)?

Erik Wrote:
Some things are simple. If we want to see democracy in our lifetime in Burma, the opposition should realise it should allow the SPDC a safe exit (read: their constitution and election).
There is no alternative, since the opposition is powerless against an army of 500,000 men.

All resistance against the safe exit of the generals is nothing more than prolonging the suffering of 50 million people in Burma. Will the opposition please take responsibility for the result of their choice if they don't compete?

The price of principles is way too high in this instance.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
All our sufferings are caused by English colonialism.

Kyaaw Wrote:
What is remnant colonialism and neo-colonialism?
The Burmese kings were too rude which made it impossible for the British to receive them.
The British granted more land to Burma by including the frontier areas which were independent territories before the British occupation. The British introduced a formal governance system and tamed the civil administration system. Today everybody knows that those Western countries are firmly supporting the democracy struggle of the peoples of Burma (Not the Chinese, Thai and Indians.

Kerry Wrote:
Hmmm. Choice!

Democratically elected, highly acclaimed and honored and respected Nobel Peace Laureate who loves her people enough to make the most extraordinary sacrifices...

Or an insane General who wants the people of Burma dead.

So many children, so much trauma, so much suffering.

The people of the world are with you all, as they awaken: the women of the world pray for our Burmese sisters.

A war cannot be waged with praters and candles, but the tide is turning for Burma.

The UN, ASEAN neighbours and all right thinking people must take a stand for Burma this year.

Perhaps in China women might like to comment on what is happening also.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
What is so fundamentally important is why has SuuKyi been barred from seeking public office from day 1?

Sadly, our people did not - some still do not - realise the long shadow of colonialism, in the form of remnant colonialism and neo-colonialism existing concurrently in some small but powerful quarters of the English establishment.

Why was SuuKyi, who did not lift a finger when Burmese people were suffering immeasurably under the BSPP regime of the late U ShuMaung, promoted to the stratosphere of fame whilst Aung San Oo, a Myanmar patriot and true HEIR of AungSan's fame, despite his efforts to help liberate Burma from repression when he was still a student in London, was at first completely ignored and later marginalised and maligned?

The SPDC or the junta is in NO position to right this wrong as the communication bewteen them and the people had broken down. Only we, United Myanmar Patritoic Front, can bring about the truth.IT MUST PREVAIL.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
The traitor Suu Kyi has no role whatsoever in the affairs of the state of Burma.
FULL STOP! (Period in American english)

timothy Wrote:
My advice is NLD to go into election with electioneering preparation and actual mass meetings to garner support of public. Public will flock to these meetings called by NLD leadership engineered by Daw Suu. The show of people power just for electioneering will show the world and of course, Than Shwe himself of the power of people. Public will say yes vote for NLD and NO VOTE to CRONIES OF DICTATORS. Surround the voting station is duty of public and it will guard to some extense against vote rigging. The local vote should be declared outside the poll stations before sending the sealed boxes to the central ( Vote Rigging) electoral office. Asean should sent the watchdog formed by ex statesmen to lessen the chance of vote rigging. This is the time to expose the bad manner of Than Shwe. Go for it.

EKA Wrote:
Neither the UN nor key players as the USA or the EU or ASEAN, has strongly viewed - on a constant basis - there opinion against the foundation of the 2010 election - namely the 2008 constitution.
As sad as it is - it remains half a victory for the SPDC.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
Daw Suu has been preempted from seeking public office since day one; under house arrest in 1990 and now 2008 constitution. Her 18 month house arrest extension also served to certify the fact.

Even her NLD is under the specter of being outlawed as a political entity in case it failed to field candidates and contest in Than Shwe's farce.

In case NLD makes waves - organizing and rallying people - Than Shwe will certainly crack down on the popular party; U Win Tin and U Tin Oo also will land in jail and NLD banned from the political picture as well.

Of course NLD will not play dumb and participate in his rigged election if Than Shwe ignores the Shwegondaing Declaration; this will serve to outlaw NLD as well no less.

Hence Daw Suu and her NLD are targeted for annihilation for good and proper this time.
International condemnation nor ridicule is no longer a concern or a big deal for the monk/mass murderer Than Shwe as long as China, India and ASEAN give due recognition and nod believe me.

Kyaik-ka-san Wrote:
The Junta will not release DASSK in 2010. SPDC aimed at to fight a sure success war against NLD. However, their past record and poor math always gave them wrong results. This time is also no exception.

If the SPDC were clever, it would have won the war in 2003 already. The state-terrorism in Depayin made him loose the war. Even after the Depayin killing, NLD decided to cooperate with them.

2007 killing of revered Monks was totally rejected by entire world. The result was “smart sanctions” that have helped bring a collapse of the national economy today.

Compromising the “Nargis Constitution” with 130,000 fellow citizens’ lives seems a success story. The NLD has the right to reject it legally.

Yettaw was meant to “marginalize” DASSK. On the contrary, she remains a key player of political show. History will explain his 2 visits to Burma.

Many reasons show, either strategically, maneuverability or situational entity, 2010 will be year of DASSK. The SPDC is downsizing and will crumple.

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