Good First Step, But Short of Complete Transparency: US
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Good First Step, But Short of Complete Transparency: US

By LALIT K JHA Thursday, March 22, 2012

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens to Burma’s President Thein Sein during their meeting at the President's Office in Naypyidaw on Dec. 1, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

WASHINGTON — Welcoming the Burmese government's decision to allow international observers during upcoming by-elections, the United States on Wednesday called the move a good first step that still falls short of complete international transparency.

“This is a good first step. Burma hasn’t allowed international observation before, but it does fall short of international complete transparency on an election,” the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference. “We hope that they’ll continue to keep the system open, and open it further.”

Burma, she said, has invited the United States to send two election representatives and three journalists to observe on election day, April 1. The Burmese government has also invited other countries, including those from Europe and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

“This is a welcome first step. When the Secretary [of State, Hillary Clinton] was there, she encouraged the Burmese government, and we have with every visit since, to open the system to international observation, as other Asean countries do and is done around the world,” she said.

However, she noted the US would have liked to have more international observers for this important by-election.

“A full-scale international observation effort would typically include quite a bit of pre-election day observation, systematic coverage on election day, post-election follow-up and professional monitors from nongovernmental organizations,” she said, giving an inkling of US expectations.

But, she added, the US would grab this opportunity to send election observers and would coordinate with other countries and groups like Asean to make their efforts more effective.

“We will obviously take up this opportunity to monitor. We will coordinate with Asean and other observers to try to maximize the impact that our observers can have, but we would obviously encourage the Burmese government to try to bring this monitoring effort as closely as they can to international standards,” she said, adding that no decision has been taken yet on who to send as election observers.

The US is also seeking clarification from the Burmese government on the three journalists that they would like to have for the election coverage.

“Our embassy in Rangoon is talking to the Burmese about who might want to come and about how visas might be apportioned,” Nuland said.

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Frontier Air Wrote:
Military has set up an upper hand with 2008 constitution. 25% reserved for lower house and upper house within the parliament. What does this free and fair election and election observers can do much under this undemocratic condition that grant an overwhelm power to military participation in politics. Burma’s interest group tend ignore undemocratic constitution but try their best to legitimize the undemocratic constitution. This is a sad thing for people in Burma.

Good luck...!

Oo Maung Gyi Wrote:
It is a good publicity fro Burma to get more support to lift the sanction, but still there are so many inside obstacles within USDP party which represent more members of parliament in Burma. This party thugs are making from time to time problems with NLD party during election campaign time and its violate election commission laws and regulations. The commission should take action. Let us wait and see the election will goes free and fair or not for the country future is depend on this small scale election as first test.

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