Junta’s first priority is elections, say Burma watchers

Burma’s ruling military junta has obviously been focusing more on the elections than planning to launch military operations against recalcitrant ceasefire groups, said observers from the Sino-Burma border.

At the latest tri-annual meeting of senior officers, 26-28 May, in Naypyidaw, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Chairman Senior General Than Shwe was said to have ordered all the meeting attendees to support former Prime Minsiter Thein Sein led Union Solidarity and Development Party (UWSP), according to a source close to junta officers.

“Than Shwe said everyone is responsible to help the UWSP win the elections,” he said.

Aung Kyaw Zaw

Aung Kyaw Zaw, well-known Burma watcher, says, “They will use all the means available to make the USDP win as they did before in 1960 elections (where the Army had canvassed support for the pro-military “Stable” Party against “Clean” Party).”

The Anti-Fasicst Peoples Freedom League that had governed Burma since Independence had split into two factions, which later became two separate parties.

Another border watcher says unlike previous tri-annual meetings, there has been no reports of reshuffles among junta officers.
“There were at least two or three officers being replaced before,” he said. “But this time, no one was reported change. It seems they want to make sure of the border stability.”

He added, regarding with junta’s silence on the ethnic groups, the junta may have learned a lesson from Kokang attack that took place in August 2009. Because it had to use many units at that period and it cannot pull out its forces, Light Infantry Division (LID)#33 up to this day.

“They know that they will have to use all of their men if they are going to launch a military operations on all the ethnic groups, ,” he said. “They are not also sure that they can win or not.”

Nevertheless, the junta military seem to have decided to consider the ethnic groups only after the elections, according to him.

Up till now, there are the United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the bulk of Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ that still remain defiant of the BGF program.

According to some media reports, the elections will be taken place on 10 October 2010.

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