While the international community and media continue condemning the Burmese military rulers for its farcical electoral laws, the junta argues that the National League for Democracy (NLD) has adopted narrow-minded practices. Junta’s mouthpiece The New Light of Myanmar has published a news that “if NLD wants to amend the Constitution it should run for the election and should act in accordance with the law calling for constitutional amendment”.
Quoting junta officials, the government-run newspaper also urged the Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD to adopt a broader view and “not a narrow-minded view” based on personal and organizational prejudice.
It can be recalled that NLD did not register with the Burmese junta controlled Election Commission and thus faces forced dissolution since May first week. The newspaper of May 12 issue, categorically denied that the present military regime named as the State Peace and Development Council has adopted any flawed electoral laws.
“However, the NLD criticized the laws as unjust and refused to register. We have ensured all inclusiveness of the elections. It is up to the NLD to decide not to take part,” said the newspaper.
It also added, “There are three main points that NLD is claiming as unjust. The first is Article 6 (c) of Political Parties Registration Law which states that political parties shall protect the Constitution of the Union of Myanmar. The NLD said that it cannot accept the provision as it has called for the amendment of the Constitution. Actually, that provision merely calls for maintaining the Constitution, but does not call for a pledge that parties will never amend or try to amend the Constitution or that the Constitution is not amendable or cannot be amended at all.”
It also pointed out that “If NLD representatives are elected, they can initiate discussions on constitutional amendments at Hluttaw and go on with amendment procedures in accordance with the provisions. However, amendments cannot be made outside the Hluttaw. Neither the NLD nor the government has the right to do so”.
Recently, the US assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visited Burma and met many high level ministers and officials in Nay Pyi Taw. The newspaper claimed that meeting of Campbell with the SPDC Spoke Authoritative Team, Burmese Foreign Minister, Science & Technology Minister, Labour Minister and the Chairman of the Union Election Commission of Burma with others.
Quoting the Election Commission, the newspaper reported, “The nation is going to hold multiparty democratic general elections this year. Nowadays, we have issued Political Parties Registration Law, the election laws and rules and also formed the Union Election Commission. —- The Election Law and rules also guarantee a free, fair, credible and all inclusive elections, adding, “Up to now 36 parties have submitted applications to the Commission in accordance with the laws and rules. Of them, 31 have been permitted to set up. More parties are expected to submit applications. There are also many who will take part as independent candidates.”
Among the parties, some are formed with Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan, PaO, Palaung, Wa, Mro (or) Khami, Kayan, Inn, Lahu and Kokang nationals. In this regard, it can be found that political parties from hilly and plain regions of the whole region, including ethnic races, are allowed to participate in the 2010 election, the Election Commission revealed.
It also assured that the polling will be recorded in front of the public, and vote counting will be carried out at the polling station. Ballot counting will be under the supervision of the returning officer or an assigned staff of the polling station and it will be witnessed by the polling station staff, the public and the representatives assigned by the candidates, the election commission claimed.
The junta-owned newspaper also asserted, “The fact is that the Constitution was ratified with overwhelming public support. Therefore, Hluttaw members who are public representatives will have the right to make amendments at the Hluttaw in accord with the provisions. If NLD wants to amend the Constitution it should contest the election and should act in accordance with the law.
Otherwise it is like making impracticable demands. So its decision to stay away from the election will only further complicate the situation. It will only lead to confrontation.