Indonesia Wants All-inclusive Election in Burma

(Irrawaddy) Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told his Burmese counterpart, Nyan Win, in Naypyidaw on Wednesday that Jakarta expected the regime

to “uphold its commitment to have an election that allows all parties to take part.”

A Jakarta Post report that appeared before the meeting said Natalegawa would also discuss with Nyan Win the regime’s controversial party registration law, which has led to the opposition National League for Democracy’s withdrawal from the election.

The paper quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah saying:  “Indonesia will pose questions on the terms of the elections to ensure that the country upholds its commitment to have an election that allows all parties to take part.”

In an official Burmese account of the meeting, the state-controlled daily New Light of Myanmar said Natalegawa and Nyan Win had shared their views on mutual cooperation between their two nations and regional and international issues. Indonesia and Burma are both members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Natalegawa’s itinerary in the Burmese capital included visits to a gems museum and other leading city sites and a dinner hosted by Nyan Win, the paper said.

The planned general election in Burma and the disputed election laws are expected to figure in discussions at an Asean foreign ministers’ summit meeting in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, nest week.

No meetings have been scheduled with members of Asean civil society and youth representative, similar to such encounters last year in Thailand, according to the English language daily Bangkok Post. 

Roshan Jason, executive director of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), said Asean should discuss and make clear its views on Burma’s upcoming elections, especially regarding the unfair laws and conditions set by the regime which barred the full, free and fair participation of political parties and individual citizens.

David Scott Mathieson, a Burma expert with Human Rights Watch, said: “They [the international and regional community] need to come up with a united and strong message that the environment for the election is not inclusive.”

The Singapore government said on Wednesday that the election law will be a greater challenge for a vital national reconciliation in Burma that includes all stakeholders.

“We are disappointed that the new election laws have led to this result,” said a Singapore Foreign Ministry spokesman. “This will make it harder for national reconciliation to be achieved.”

It is still not too late for the Burmese government to make the election inclusive, however, the spokesman said.

“This would require the participation of the National League for Democracy and other political parties. It is still not too late for all parties to reach a compromise and we urge them to do so.”


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