Home > Democracy, Elections > Burma’s military democracy

Burma’s military democracy

The new legislative season is soon to start in many legislatures around the world. Yet in many countries Parliaments will not be convened because they simply do not exist. Burma (officially Myanmar) is one of these countries where a military junta illegitimately decides what is good and bad on behalf of the 50 million citizens. The Junta is calling elections on 7 November 2010 – the first since 1990. Can we believe that this time it will lead to democracy and expression of free people’s will ?

 January 2012 Update on Reforms in Myanmar – read here.

Update: Burma after the election.

Earlier this month the military leadership fixed the date for the elections envisaged in the new constitution from 2008. But this is hardly promising for the Burmese. Once among the richest nations in East Asia and the biggest exporter of rice in the world, now this is one of the most impoverished country in the world and over 90% of the population live on less than 60 cents a day. Thousands have been dissenters to the political regime have been imprisoned and thousands killed during protests over the years. Not to mentions the hundreds of thousands people deported from the country on the basis of ethnic and religious differences or the estimated 800 000 forced labourers. But after brutally suppressing the Buddhist monks’ peaceful protests in 2007, the Junta decided to take a democratic course and hold elections. I am asking myself  how people with such thinking can organise elections ?

This is how – according to the set of election laws, no prisoners (read political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi) can take part in the elections, even though PM Thein Sein had announced that there will be a general amnesty before the elections. An electoral commission with 17 members chosen by the Junta will have the last say about the election results. Then if this is not enough, 25% of the seats in both the lower and the upper house are reserved for the military. And even after this, a reformist majority succeeds, the military reserves its control over the ministries of the justice, defence and interior ministries.

Then we all expect that a true democracy will immediately spring from Burma, after 48 years of authoritarian rule. After 1968’s coup d’etat a one part system was imposed with the only party being the Socialist Program Party which followed the “Burmese socialist way”. This devastate the economy and lead to great social, ethnic and religious tension. After protests in 1988 a military junta seized power and organised elections in 1990 won by Suun Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD took 392 out if 492 seats). The Junta did not like this and stayed on power, dissolving the NLD, arresting its leaders and continuing the brutal suppressions from the previous decades for 20 more years.

In theory, Burma has now the chance to break with its socialist and military past after half a century of unaccountable and brutal rule. But the election rules are a mockery and even if they were not, one would hardly believe that the democratic movement will be given a real chance. Maybe some sort of “Burmese military Democracy” or “Burmese democratic way” will emerge with the elections as the first facade for the ancient regime.

Yet there is a chance, I think. And it is all democratic nations to realize that by strongly supporting the people of Burma and their democratic movement, they can expand the currently narrow margins for democracy. This time, unlike in 1989 everyone knows that there will be elections, and the old regime will try and transform its political power into economic one by openly holding the main control mechanisms of the country, such as legal system, police and army (and secretly holding many others). We also know that it is one country and not the whole Eastern Europe and the collapsing Yugoslavia and USSR. I strongly hope that the forthcoming discussions in the UN General Assembly will give more visibility to this issue and media and diplomats will not spare time trying to open the black box of Burmese military dictatorship.

  1. julie
    November 9, 2010 at 16:41

    so sad

    • Anonymous
      July 22, 2012 at 21:45

      itz painful really

  2. Treva Hammond
    November 14, 2010 at 17:15

    I work with many Burmese refugees in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and my heart is heavy with grief because they have suffered much at the hands of the military. Hearing their accounts of what each of their families had to endure makes this a very personal issue for me. Their gratitude for a chance to be able to work and live in a free society makes me so grateful to be a U.S. citizen. What bothers me is the high cost refugees from all repressive countries have to pay to take the citizen ship examination.

  3. Treva Hammond
    November 14, 2010 at 17:18

    I work with many Burmese refugees in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and my heart is heavy with grief because they have suffered much at the hands of the military. Hearing their accounts of what each of their families had to endure makes this a very personal issue for me. Their gratitude for a chance to be able to work and live in a free society makes me so grateful to be a U.S. citizen. What bothers me is the high cost refugees from all repressive countries have to pay to take the citizenship examination.

  4. jejmeo
    July 25, 2012 at 05:08

    Why are you killing Muslims?

    • riky
      August 3, 2012 at 09:28

      they are crazy…..
      please wake up muslim’s…. don.t sleeeepppppppppp… help your friend in burma city…

  5. Arslaan Malik
    July 25, 2012 at 13:10

    Why on is the world silent regarding the genocide of muslims. Where is the UN and where are the Human Rights Organisations.

  6. July 29, 2012 at 17:59

    algerians peoples saw what u doing mothers fuckers bodiste ,we never forget this and ever will be well with us….someday!salam.

  7. Anonymous
    August 2, 2012 at 03:47

    I heat burma city because it’s killer of many muslim pepole’s.

  8. Anonymous
    August 2, 2012 at 06:33

    why they killing muslims only because they are muslims why the whole world didnt help them it is a new holocaust where is the media ???
    \\

  9. Anonymous
    August 3, 2012 at 13:15

    they are bludy budhist religion which is fake that is why they are killing humenity….

  10. Anonymous
    August 3, 2012 at 22:57

    Budhist religion is the religion of the devil! … Don’t be afraid Muslims God will revange for you very soon In sha2 Allah!

  11. Anonymous
    August 3, 2012 at 23:06

    look to what the Budhists wearing!!! Total red!
    if a person looks too much long on the red color, he will be agressive and have the eager and the tendency to kill!!!!
    No wonder why they are killing!
    to All the Budhist people I pray for God to either guide you to enter islam or to blow you in Deep Hell!

  12. Ali Alberto Vahaly
    August 7, 2012 at 09:25

    Unfortunately there will be no UN, Human Rights to condemn these genocideos because they are promoted. Only force necessary and prompt is DUA from all musslims and we here in MOZAMBIQUE already are doing QUNUT in our sualats.
    May Allah away from this wicked world and forgive our brothers who died. (Nampula, Mozambique)

  13. Anonymous
    August 10, 2012 at 09:21

    i ll request to all muslim nd muslim country plz be togather nd help our islam its real time for fight for ALLAH ND ISLAM….

  14. omeir
    August 10, 2012 at 16:29

    the buddisten teroristen the killen muslime

  15. omeir
    August 10, 2012 at 16:33

    die buddisten sind teroristen sie haben mehrere masaker gegen muslime durchgefürt mit regirung ünterstüzung sie machen adniche zauberung in buram

  16. Anonymous
    August 12, 2012 at 15:15

    islam is the religion of peace…..god help them….

  17. syed
    August 14, 2012 at 06:16

    i ll request to all muslim nd muslim country plz be togather nd help our islam its real time for fight for ALLAH ND ISLAM….

  18. mohammed
    August 14, 2012 at 12:38

    Allah plz help our muslim brothers n sisters suffering in burma

  19. Anonymous
    August 16, 2012 at 05:15

    Please keep muslims in Burma as well as other sufferers in our Ummah in your dua’s insha’Allah, Allah is the controller of all things, iA he will respond to our dua’s.

  20. Anonymous
    August 19, 2012 at 20:11

    I hate Burma’s budhist.why u kill the Muslims?
    why USA sleep and never seen there?where is you human rights?u just save the other?our ALLAH save us INSHA ALLAH.i hate u america.one day u also break INSHA ALLAH.

  21. shahid latif
    August 19, 2012 at 20:12

    I hate Burma’s budhist.why u kill the Muslims?
    why USA sleep and never seen there?where is you human rights?u just save the other?our ALLAH save us INSHA ALLAH.i hate u america.one day u also break INSHA ALLAH.

  22. shahid latif
    August 19, 2012 at 20:20

    Anonymous :
    I hate Burma’s budhist.why u kill the Muslims?
    why USA sleep and never seen there?where is you human rights?u just save the other?our ALLAH save us INSHA ALLAH.i hate u america.one day u also break INSHA ALLAH.

  23. Anonymous
    August 24, 2012 at 19:58

    live n let them live

  1. January 4, 2011 at 13:27
  2. May 24, 2012 at 22:57

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