The New Mon State Party (NMSP) officially announced in an October 21st press conference that while they refuse to acknowledge or participate in the Burmese national elections on November 7th , they will not actively prevent Mon people from voting on election day.
“If people have to go to the poll station unavoidably [pressured by Burmese authorities], or if they want to vote, our party will not prevent them, they think voting is just their right,” the NMSP’s Foreign Affairs Department officer Nai Hongsa Bonkhing said during the press conference.
The NMSP released their official statement on the matter on October 18th, three days before the press conference.
During the conference, the party also stated its position that the values of Democracy and ethnic minority rights are only marginally covered in the 2008 Constitution. The party posited that the government that takes power after the upcoming elections will not be a true federal union, and that the 2008 constitution is just a means of sustaining the power of Burma’s current military regime.
“We released our stance [on the election] because the upcoming election will cancel the results of the 1990 elections, and these elections will make their [the current government’s] military system official”, Nai Hongsa stated.
The NMSP’s October 18th statement insists that the Election Commission Laws as well as November 7th elections themselves are not free and fair, because the government’s proxy party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), has been unfairly favored.
The statement also pointed to the Burmese government’s refusals to heed requests from the International community that the elections be conducted in a fair and democratic manner.
The NMSP has touched briefly on the upcoming elections in statements issued during this year’s Mon National Day, Mon Revolution Day, and Mon National Liberation Day celebrations, but has not until now has the party formally addressed the upcoming event.
The NMSP and the Burmese government reached a cease-fire agreement in 1995; the agreement remained stable until the NMSP issued its final refusal to surrender its armed wing to the Burmese government on September 1st of this year, after receiving pressure to do so during an August 23rd meeting. While the ceasefire has not officially been broken, tensions have risen, and the NMSP has since called its members at offices in Mon State back into NMSP-controlled areas.
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