Karen voters have limited choice

Voters in Karen State will have a choice of voting four political parties in the elections on 7 November 2010. A voter in Pa-an Township says that three of the contesting parties’ close association with the ruling military regime taints them.

Saw Gyi* claims are supported by the concerned parties’ electoral information. The Union Solidarity and Development Party leader is the military regime’s current Prime Minister and a former senior military officer, the National Unity Party’s leader is a former army Chief-of-Staff and the Karen State Democracy and Development Party was formed by the regime’s current Information Minister, who is also an army general.

The only political party without close regime connections, which is contesting the election in Karen state is the Plone-S’gaw Democratic Party, and Saw Gyi says he prefers it as it does not have any association with the regime and is grass root based.

Saw Gyi says the other political parties are regime fronts and will act as ‘yes men’.

“They will do what they are ordered to do. These people will not represent the real interests of the people or the country. I’m concerned if the Plone-S’gaw Democratic Party wins, these parties will sabotage the result and intimidate the PSDP candidates.”

The current chairperson of the Plone-S’gaw Democratic Party is the only one of the four, who has any connection with the local Karen community and its chairman, Saw Khin Maung Myint says.

“Before we formed this party we campaigned in the community about if they wanted a Karen political party. The response was positive. It’s up to the community to select their PSDP candidate, not party officials.”

Saw Gyi says the regime’s 2008 Constitution has already guaranteed the military dictatorship 25 per cent of the seats in the election.

“They’re taking no chances. Three out of the four parties have close regime connections, this also favour the government. The head of the Election Commission, Saw Aung Pwint, is also closely connected to the NUP.”

There will be seven electorates contested by all the four parties in the November 7 elections.

*name has been changed to protect the source

Phlone-Sguaw Democratic Party registers 10,000 members

The Phlone-Sguaw Democratic Party (PSDP), the representative party in Karen State, has registered 10,000 members after it campaigned for membership in the last two months.

“The number of party members meets the Union Election Commission’s requirement that every political party must have 1,000 members. The Karen party has over 10,000 members, especially in Hpa-an and seven other townships in Karen state,” Saw Khin Maung Myint, chairman of PSDP, said.

The PSDP is campaigning in Hpa-an, Kawkreaik, Hlaing Bwe, Kyarinseikyi, Myawaddy, and Phar Pun Township and has been hugely successful. Locals support the Karen political party. The Karen party is going for another lobbying trip to Than Toung Township, he added.

“Currently, at least, 70 per cent of locals strongly support us. They participate with us because the party is formed for the interest of Karen nationals and Karen State,” he added.

PSDP party has nine CEC members. They are: Saw Khin Maung Myint on a temporary chairman’s position, the vice-chairman is Saw Aung Kyaw Naing, the general secretary is Saw Kyi Lin, the joint-secretary (1) is Saw Tin Hlaing, and the joint-secretary (2) is Saw Shar Htun Phoung. Sabi Kyin Oo is the chairman of the youth wing. Daw Nan Say Aur is women’s chairmen. Saw Mya Tun and Saw Khin Kyaw Oo are members.

The PSDP’s head office is near the Moe Kae monastery, Htone Ai Street, quarter 7, Hpa-an Township. It registered as a political party with the Union Election Commission in Nay Pyi Daw on May 27 and was approved on June 4 but the party has no signboard till now. Continue reading “Phlone-Sguaw Democratic Party registers 10,000 members”

Burmese in Japan Stage Protest-„The Activities of Burmese Nationals in Japan“ by Burma Today

Nearly 100 Burmese living in Japan staged a protest on Tuesday in front of the Burmese embassy in Tokyo, Japan, demanding the release of a well-known Arakanese historian monk and 11 Arakanese youths, in addition to the release of seized artifacts and 100 relocated Arakanese orphans.

The protest was led by Arakanese political party, Arakan League for Democracy (Japan), and took place after the Burmese military junta recently arrested a well-known Arakanese historian monk and sentenced 11 Arakanese youths to 3 to 9 years in prison.

Ko Kyaw Than Hlaing, who is a member of the group, said, “We staged our protest in front of the Burmese embassy in Tokyo from 4 to 5 pm, against the military junta who arrested our respected monk and sentenced 11 youths to 3 to 9 years. The arrest and sentence of our people by the junta are baseless and unjust. So we demanded the release of them immediately.”

The protesters stood in front of the embassy holding many posters and portraits of monks during the protest, and shouted many slogans demanding the release of the monk and the 11 youth.

“We also demanded that the military government send back the 100 Arakanese orphans to Arakan State from Burma proper, return the many precious ancient Arakanese antiques to Arakan, and re-open the orphanage that was sealed off by authorities,” he said.

The Burmese military authority arrested well-known Arakanese historian monk Ashon Pyinya Sara in Sittwe on 27 July on several accusations, including abuse of religious principles.

After the incident, the military authorities closed and sealed off the orphanage led by Ashon Pyinya Sara and sent 100 orphans to undisclosed locations in Burma proper. At the same time, the authority seized many precious ancient antiques, including ancient silver and gold Arakanese coins, Buddha statues, and palm-leaf inscriptions that had been collection by Ashon Pyinya Sara over the years.

The Maha Muni Buddha Vihara orphanage is located at suburban Sittwe, the capital of Arakan and it was biggest orphanage in Sittwe.

On 11 August, 2010, the authority sentenced 11 Arakanese youth who have been detained since 2009 to three to nine years in prison on several charges in a trial held in the notorious Insein Prison court, during which no evidence of their guilt was presented before the court.

The youths, all aged around 20 years old, were arrested in Rangoon and Arakan State on 4 September, 2009, on multiple charges, including possession of explosives, connections with outside organizations, and crossing the border illegally.

After the incident, not only Arakanese people but also others throughout Burma were displeased with the junta’s actions against the monk and the youth.

During the protest, a leading member from the Arakan League for Democracy (Japan), gave a statement to the Burmese ambassador related to the arrest and sentencing of the monk and youth.

In the statement, the organization demanded the military authority release the monk and 11 youth, as well as return the precious Arakanese antiques and send back the 100 orphans to their orphanage in Sittwe.
Narinjara news