Saturday, August 14, 2010

Myanmar junta to hold national elections

Burma's Election Commission has set the election date for November 7, 2010. It was announced on the state-run radio this morning.Candidates can submit their names for parliament as soon as August 16 until August 31, the report said.Myanmar junta to hold national elections in more than two decades spokesperson announced Friday,on Nov. 7 a date for a electoral vote has been denounced by opponents an exercise of legitimizing military power within the format of civilian rule.National League for Democracy,has given call to boycot the elections, saying the electoral rules are unfair and restrictive. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD leader and Nobel Peace laureate has spent most of the past 20 years under house arrest, is legally barred from running in the election because she is under government detention.

The NLP party officially disbanded in May for their refusal to register for the campaign will be on the sidelines during the elections, still unclear their role it might play in the future as a non party organization.Election announcement, broadcast on government radio and television announced, “Multiparty general elections for the country’s Parliament will be held Sunday, Nov. 7.” Call gave political parties until the end of this month to submit their candidate lists.
The timing of the elections gives parties only a short time to recruit candidates and mount campaigns in what one Burmese exile commentator, Win Tin, called “a calculated political ambush.”
The main ethnic Kachin organisation has called a meeting this weekend to discuss its future. The decision follows the announcement by the junta’s electoral watchdog that Burma’s first elections two decades will be held on November 7, Kachin leaders said.

Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) departmental heads, Kachin religious leaders and representatives from cultural groups will exchange views during the gathering at the KIO head office in Laizar on the Sino-Burmese border. At least 40 are likely to attend, joint secretary Colonel Sin Wah said.
Kachin_front_big_picture_and_with_story

Kachin nationals from northern Burma attend the opening ceremony of the 15th Burmese traditional performing arts competition in Naypyidaw, in October 2007. Kachin leaders and cultural groups are meeting this weekend (August 14-15, 2010) to discuss their future, in Laizar on the Sino-Burmese border, ahead of nationwide elections on November 7, announced by the junta’s electoral watchdog yesterday, August 13. Photo: AFP

“Participants will present their opinions on the future of our organisation, especially on the transition. The meeting may last up to three days and will start tomorrow from about 8 a.m.”, KIO Joint Secretary Colonel Sin Wah said.

Junta Minister of Industry No. 1 Aung Thaung and Communications, Post and Telegraph Minister Thein Zaw demanded the KIO on July 12 give its final reply to the junta’s offer, which Burma watchers describe more as a demand, for the ethnic group to bring its 8,000-strong Kachin Independence Army (KIA) under the command of the Burmese Army’s Border Guard Force (BGF) before the elections.

“Doing as per the Panglong Agreement is also the transformation. Transformation means the right to autonomy for the Kachin people. We will accept transformation if we are permitted to exercise this right”, a KIO officer said on condition of anonymity.

The Panglong Agreement was a deal reached between the Burmese government under Aung San and the Shan, Kachin and Chin peoples on February 12, 1947, which accepted in principle “Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas” and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly (Burma’s first post-independence parliament.)

KIO has also been gauging input from its rank and file and fellow Kachin on the transformation issue since last May. Its final counter-offer on the BGF issue was that it would only accept Kachin troops in their own battalions, without junta commanders.

The junta made the BGF offer to all ethnic armed ceasefire groups on April 28 last year but the KIO, the New Mon State Party, United Wa State Army, the Shan State Army – North, and Brigade Five of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army have continued to refuse the offer.
The Burmese junta’s electoral watchdog yesterday formally released its list of the 330 lower house constituencies to be contested in the country’s first general elections in 20 years, and each township is represented.

Shan State has the most number of separate electorates on the list with 55 constituencies, Rangoon Division is second at 45, Sagaing has 37 and Mandalay, 36. Kayah (Karenni) and Karen states share the least number with seven each.

Observers believe the polls will be held in December after comments in a speech delivered by junta Livestock Breeding and Fisheries Minister Maung Maung Thein at a seminar held at the Fisheries’ Department offices in which he said it would be “the busiest month”. The last forecast based on public opinion was on the “three-10 date”, October 10, 2010.

The list of constituencies for the upper house (National Assembly) and States and Regions Assembly (State Assembly) will also be printed in state-run daily papers in coming days.

Sources told Mizzima that the UEC, which critics commonly regarded as a “puppet organisation” of the junta, was conducting training for district- and township-level poll-booth officials. But public awareness campaigns and voter education on the methods, rules and regulations governing the polls were still weak, which left such work to political parties.

People’s Assembly (Lower House) constituencies
1. Kachin State – 18
2. Kayah (Karenni) State – 7
3. Karen State – 7
4. Chin State – 9
5. Sagaing Division – 37
6. Tanintharyyi Division – 10
7. Pegu Division – 28
8. Magway Division – 25
9. Mandalay Division – 36
10. Mon State – 10
11. Rakhine State – 17
12. Rangoon Division – 45
13. Shan State – 55
14. Irrawaddy Division – 26

Media agencies

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