NLD Election Boycott Official
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NLD Election Boycott Official

By THE IRRAWADDY Thursday, August 19, 2010


Leaders of Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), have decided to officially boycott the Nov 7. election, according to Ohn Kyaing, a party spokesperson.

The decision was made at a meeting on Thursday attended by central executive committee and leading party members.

Held at the house of NLD vice chairman Tin Oo in Rangoon, the meeting was attended by top NLD leaders including vice chairman Tin Oo, Win Tin, Nyunt Wai, Than Htun and Hla Pe, said Ohn Kyaing, who also attended.  

He said the NLD decided to boycott the election because the 2008 Constitution and the election commission's election law do not guarantee democracy and human rights in Burma. 

The NLD also affirmed that voters have the right to decide whether to vote in the election according to the constitution, he said.

In June, detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Burmese citizens have the right not to vote in the upcoming election.

However, earlier in August, an article in one of the state-run newspapers warned that anyone who “disrupts” the upcoming elections could face up to 20 years imprisonment.

Ohn Kyaing said he cannot provide detailed information about the election boycott at this moment, but the NLD will hold strategy meetings in the near future for organizing the election boycott.  

The Nov. 7 election takes place one week before Suu Kyi is due for release.

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Moe Aung Wrote:
Adam Selene

'The first group seems to be largely without a program or strategy and is mainly looking at Aung San Suu Kyi, whom they idolize.'

People need a figurehead at least to rally around, but People Power depends on so many faceless leaders and activists both above and underground. You or I won't be privy to all that's been going on behind the scenes, and they are in no position to expound a program and strategy that fundamentally oppose the regime.

Nearly 3 decades in prison is no more endurable under a civilian government than a protracted house arrest under a military dictatorship.

Granted not having an armed wing is a weakness but that can be addressed very quickly so long as they are psychologically prepared or they'd be swept aside by those who have planned for the moment.

'the third force people seemed to me way smarter and strategically more savvy. They are bending the rules, widening gaps and pushing the boundaries.'

Good luck to them. Hope they have nine lives.

Adam Selene Wrote:
Moe Aung:

Mandela was in prison under a civilian government. And the ANC had a militant wing, which was a force to be reckoned with. I don't see how the NLD or ASSK (or the irrelevant West) is going to force Than Shwe to the negotiating table.

It seems like the NLD is merely hoping for the regime to implode, which is more wishful thinking than thought through strategy.

About the "good intentions and enthusiasm" of the third force people. I spoke with many hardline opposition leaders and third force people. The first group seems to be largely without a program or strategy and is mainly looking at Aung San Suu Kyi, whom they idolize. Not exactly fair to expect so much from her.

In contrast the third force people seemed to me way smarter and strategically more savvy. They are bending the rules, widening gaps and pushing the boundaries. At the same time the hardline opposition is being shackled and doing nothing.

Moe Aung Wrote:
Adam Selene

'You can say what you want about Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Tin but they achieved nothing.'

You could have said the same thing about Mandela languishing in prison for nearly 3 decades before the apartheid regime was forced to the negotiating table.

'If the opposition lacks military force or the courage to demonstrate, other strategies are needed, of which the NLD sadly has none.'

Unfortunately it's a typical middle class weakness in the face of relentless state repression where strategies other than collaboration or surrender have absolutely no chance to see the light of day.

'the third force people are way more constructive than the nay sayers.'

Good intentions and enthusiasm sadly do not often translate into results either. The third force can be constructive in conjuction with others who seek a genuine political solution to Burma's woes. The West typically seeks out a third force in its own image as a contender to office, but it's hard pressed in the case of Burma.

Adam Selene Wrote:
It is very clear that the regime is stacking the cards. But nonetheless participating is still the better option. I admire people like Phyo Min Thein (although he has dropped out now), Khin Maung Shwe and U Thu Wai for trying to make the best of a difficult situation.

And I still trust the people of Burma to vote for a real opposition party. The regime can campaign what they want, there is still a big hate vote up for grabs for the opposition.

If the junta, to its own surprise, loses again, there are two possible scenarios. One is a scenario in which the parliament is allowed to gather and the opposition has more influence than before. The second scenario is that the junta will not aknowledge the outcome of the elections, like it did in 1990. In that case the opposition parties will have exposed the regime once again.

Adam Selene Wrote:
George Than Setkyar Heine:

Yes, I am a foreigner. Actually a good thing in this case. In the West we have a democratic tradition. Burma on the other hand has a tradition of repression and personalized power (from the Kings to Aung San to Ne Win and Than Shwe).

Burma is lagging behind in many ways, not the other way around. So no need to lecture me...

In my opinion the regime is doing what it wants and the NLD has antagonized the generals in such a way that I don't believe we will see any dialogue in the near future. The NLD rendered itself irrelevant. I can understand pride and principles. But I would prefer pragmatism and result.

You can say what you want about Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Tin but they achieved nothing. Burma is poor. Its peoples are oppressed. The generals are to blame, but they are not going away by repeatedly saying they are bad. If the opposition lacks military force or the courage to demonstrate, other strategies are needed, of which the NLD sadly has none.

Adam Selene Wrote:
Moe Aung:

What I wanted to point out was that actually some NLD-leaders think along the same line as the generals do. They don't seem to have any grasp of democracy at all. And talk of "punishing" other democratic parties doesn't help, does it?

I consider the way the regime is organizing all this as a fact that you have to deal with. Either by helping out the people that are genuinely trying to make the best of it (Democratic Party, NDF, UDP) or, as the West should do, engaging behind the scenes with the generals to try and get some influence.

You are actually doing what many opposition people do: talking in black and white. No, I am not a regime supporter. I just tend to think that the third force people are way more constructive than the nay sayers.

Tell me, please, what plan does the NLD currently have that has even a slight chance of achieving success? And do you really think that the ageing leaders of the NLD have the vitality and the freshness to really do something?

Moe Aung Wrote:
Adam Selene

'they (the NLD) are not more than an obstacle on the road to (some) progress.'

Must be some conventional wisdom you share with the SPDC.

I see your article recycling the 'pragmatist' line still boasts zero comments since it provides no comment box.

I see you are in great and illustrious company - plan B, Myanmar Patriots and the SPDC all in the same camp - persisting in the call for deal-making and going with the flow (into the channel the SPDC is shepherding all and sundry) regardless. Man, you are making history, as plan B would say.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
Selene again.
I don't blame him for that also.
After all he is a foreigner and he has only a one-track mind and way of thinking.
He forgets that Daw Suu and U Win Tin are pure bred Burmese and Than Shwe as well.
Even the ethnic people born in Burma are no match for Than Shwe like they are finding out now.
They have been fighting against the likes of Than Shwe since 1949 until today but to no avail.
And Than Shwe is teaching politics to all the world including him lest Selene forgets.
Daw Suu, U Win Tin, Min Ko Naing, U Khun Htun Oo and even Saw Lah Pwe not to mention KNU led by my good friend Pado Takapaw know what they are doing.
Daw Suu and U Win Tin are leading the opposition and Than Shwe could not get past them until today if Selene fails to note.
The monk murderer has only one choice today.
Either he BULLDOZES his way out of this quagmire and sinks into oblivion or he TALKS like a human being with Daw Suu and her people and save his hide and place in history as a soldier.

timothy Wrote:
This election is full of crimes, lies, tricks, black magic, bribery, intimidation and cruel twists. For those who believe in this election with your comments here, my advice is go to hell. How could you disrespectfully say to the people of Burma to vote for murderous thugs? Your days are numbered.

timothy Wrote:
NLD is now spearheading the campaign "Boycott 2010 Election". According to constitution written by Than Shwe, voters got sole right to vote or not. It is no one else`s business. Full Stop. It is not disrupting the election by boycotting the election. Full Stop. Boycott The Election

Myo Min Wrote:
The NLD has ceased to exist. Yet NLD keeps behaving very much the party before it ceased. I am glad that it can still do its gesturing with little care for the junta's oppressive power. Than Shwe should cry for NLD not obeying his home made rule of law by his own whim. Or he might be saving those tears for upcoming days in the international court of criminals. Down with the junta.

A.M.O Wrote:
Well, Than Shwe got in the shoes of his own boss (Gen Ne Win) and he has gone too far and too bad as well - maybe worse.

Only we pray to God that '2010' doesn't end up in the way that Pol Pot's Cambodia did.


Zam Mang Wrote:
Yes. The people of Burma have every right to vote or not vote as long as the election is a democratic election. If we have no party we would like to cast our votes for, we can stay at home without casting our votes.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
That should be the spirit embraced by all in Burma.
The NLD is the guiding light and should be followed by all people.
It is time to show Than Shwe's bullying days are over as well.
By sidelining NLD and keeping Daw Suu out of the political process and picture of Burma, Than Shwe has forfeited his chance to get his much craved legitimacy no doubt.

The monk murderer's bid to step on the pedestal on the back of his proxy USDP (USDA) stained with the blood of more than 200 NLD members killed at De-pe'-yin on May 30, 2003, is his mother of mistakes, I dare say.

Remember Daw Suu said everybody has the right NOT to VOTE!

Staying away from polling stations and homes as well on polling day would certainly serve the monk murderer right, no doubt.

This is the right time and juncture to pay back the murdering military mutt at his own game also.
Dying like Spartacus is much more worthwhile than living like slaves, I say.

After all there is only one life to live lest people forget.

Adam Selene Wrote:
Well, this doesn't exactly surprise. The NLD boycotted writing a political program and thinking up a serious strategy to get out of the deadlock also. These guys are old and irrelevant. They are not doing anything, and didn't do anything for twenty years.

What is needed now is support for the few genuine parties that have decided to make the most of a bad situation. These people are brave and really doing something. Lets help them wherever possible.

The NLD just saddens me. Recently I spoke with Win Tin. He said he wanted NLD youth members to punish the NDF and wants to advise people not to vote for them. When he and Aung San Suu Kyi pronounced that it was not democratic for the ex-NLD leaders to form the NDF, I began to seriously doubt if the NLD itself is a democratic organization. They just don't seem to get it.

At the moment they are not more than an obstacle on the road to (some) progress.

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