(Mizzima) – With the Burmese military junta’s electoral laws effectively banning prospective contestants and restricting opposition groups, particularly detained Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party, from participating in this year’s upcoming elections,
Win Tin, a veteran politician and Central Executive Committee member of the NLD, argues the 2010 election cannot bring any meaningful progress.
Win Tin, a veteran journalist, in an interview with Mizzima said the junta has planned everything in advance, including the 2008 constitution, to sustain their power, with the 2010 election just a mere showpiece to legalize their continued rule.
Q: What do you think will be the differences between the 1990 elections and the upcoming 2010 elections?
WT: Two years before the 1990 election there was a huge peoples uprising in demand of democracy and the military had no power at all. After a lot of demands from the people, the 1990 elections were held freely and fairly. There was no handcuffing, no arrests and no rigging or fixing of votes. That’s why the 1990 election was won in a landslide victory (for the NLD).
But, by 2010 the ruling military junta has gained so much power and is in complete control over the country. And there is also a certain amount of fear instilled in the people. Besides, with the country’s economic degradation people are in much greater hardship and are forced to struggle for their daily bread, which leaves many people unable to find time or space to think of politics. So, the junta at this point maintains the upper hand. Besides, after selling off the country’s huge natural resources they have also gained a lot of foreign reserves and foreign currency and are ready to establish a complete military state. They had the 2008 constitution approved at a critical time, just after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country.
So, the 2010 elections will be flouted and there will be a lot of restrictions. In 1990, there was nothing planned after the elections. And there was no constitution in 1990. The military simply held the elections and there were no plans for the future. But in 2010, the junta has already laid down the plans and has set the targets according to what they want to achieve. So, there are no changes that the 2010 elections can bring, as the junta has already planned the establishment of a military state. They laid down the mechanism with the 2008 constitution for them to stay in power.
Q: There are some suggestions that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should not run for office but instead remain an honorary figure. What do you think?
WT: It cannot be like that. Politicians must have power too. A person that is to lead the country needs to have power. That person should be able to take control of the country’s administrative mechanisms. So, we cannot keep that person aside. We cannot compare Aung San Suu Kyi with India’s Sonia Gandhi. Honestly, Sonia Gandhi is not a born Indian citizen. She is a foreigner. And it is not easy for a foreigner to lead a country, so she has to remain behind the curtain and support her party. She is influential and has done so much for the country but her situation requires that she remain behind the curtain. But for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, she is a Burmese and is the daughter of the country’s independent architect and a martyr. She has political dignity, is politically influential and has a political background too. In building our country afresh, we need to use her dignity and influence to the fullest. We do not have the intention to keep her in a showcase or in a box and we are determined to let her use her influences to there fullest.
But at this time, even if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi wants to utilize her utmost capabilities, it is helpless, as the constitution has limited her powers. According to the constitution, even if 75 percent of the total Burmese population supports the NLD, we will still not be able to form a government. According to this constitution, no political parties will be able to form a government. Only the military in collaboration with some civilian supporters will be able to form a government. So, there is nothing that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi can do at the moment. But in my opinion, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should be given a chance to work her utmost under a free constitution and in a free society. If needed, she should also take power. She cannot be used as a showcase and she should not remain behind the curtains like Sonia Gandhi.
Q: What kind of trend do you think Burmese society will witness in the post-2010 election era?
WT: I don’t want to comment whether it will be good or bad because it is very much unpredictable. But what I think is obvious is that the situation will not improve much from where we are now because the same military generals will remain and will continue to rule the country. The military that sold off all of the country’s resources will continue to reign. Since they will be in power they certainly will not improve the current situation.