March 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 pm
NLD set up the date for its party central committee meeting on 29 March 2010, where a decision will be made weather as to enter the election or not. NLD will likely decide to favor entering the election and expel its leader Aung San Suu Kyi by avoiding becoming the illegal party under the SPDC unjust election laws.
Before discussion on this issue, we need to know why SPDC planned to hold the election after 20 years of strict rule. There are two reasons that SPDC needs an election for its own benefit.
- Gain Internal legitimacy
- Gain External legitimacy
For gaining “Internal legitimacy”, SPDC hands out a trick by issuing strict party registration laws which will force the NLD to make a drastic decision to expel its world known and respected leader Aung San Suu Kyi along with tough party members who have been thrown into jail for their strong belief in freedom and democratic rights.
If the NLD falls into the SPDC trap and expel ASSK from the party, National League for Democracy will lose its credibility and support from Burmese people.
On the other hand, unlike the situation in 1990, SPDC-sponsored mafia organization Union of Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) is well-prepared for the election and its members reach from cities to villages.
In addition, SPDC created a Nazi era like brown shirt terrorist organization called Swan Ar Shin (The Mighty) whose job is to beat up the opposition members and pro-democracy activists, while Swan Ar Shin are under the guise of concerned citizens who control the disturbances (anti government demonstrations are mark as disturbances and disruption of peace and stability of the country). In reality, they are government-sponsored thugs that beat up demonstrators.
Without ASSK, NLD has no chance to win the election. Internal legitimacy is not very difficult for the SPDC because even though they lost the election in 1990, they have been ruling without legitimacy for more than two decades with force and violence at their disposal. Even though they do not have internal legitimacy, they can create one and they will force to get it in the future. For example, after cyclone Nargis hit Burma, SPDC did not delay its planned referendum even within the crisis where more than one hundred thousand died and millions became homeless. SPDC did not care about it and shamelessly announced that the referendum was successful and 94% endorsed it. It proved that they will use force if necessary because it is Burma’s internal affairs and no one can stop them.
But unlike internal legitimacy, they cannot get the external legitimacy by using force or threat because it is beyond their limit. To gain external legitimacy, SPDC needs to prove that the election is free and fair. If they hold the election while giving NLD fair entry, they will get acceptance from the Western nations even if NLD loses. Getting external legitimacy is the main reason the SPDC is planning the election in 2010.
But the current situation does not favor them to get external legitimacy because the strict election laws including Party Registration Law clearly forced the NLD and other political parties to expel their members who are in prisons.
The current situation shows that NLD party has two options:
- Abandoned their mandate of 1990 election results and Shwegone Dine declaration.
- Expel Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD prisoners
- Register as a political party and accept and promise to safeguard the 2008 constitution.
It is likely to happen under Chairman Aung Shwe. He said NLD needs to register in the CEC meeting. His aids, Khin Mg Swe and Dr. Than Nyein also expressed their view by supporting Aung Shwe. It is like history revisited again like in 1993 when SPDC pressured NLD to expel ASSK or abolish the party, Aung Shwe chose to expel ASSK. But it was the post election period and NLD also has 1990 election mandate to rule. Now they will do it again and General Mg Than Shwe knows their weakness.
Even though Aung San Suu Kyi gave her opinion that she will not accept the unjust law and refused to register it, both Than Nyein and Khin Mg Swe said everyone has a choice and they have theirs, if someone does not want to register he or she has to leave the party but they will still be holding the party banner and entering the election. Since they will not accept the majority vote in the central committee meeting, it likely means NLD is going to split into two groups.
- Refuse to register as a political party.
- Announce the world that they cannot expel their beloved leader for the election because the SPDC laws are designed to exclude their leader to participate in the election.
- They will not dissolve their party and it will still be a people’s party, they are still holding the Shwegone Dine declaration and are open for dialogue with SPDC.
My opinion is if NLD chooses option one, it is a doomsday for the NLD party. The current situation is totally different because now is a pre-election period and if NLD expels their leader Aung San Suu Kyi, it will lose terribly and never regain to be trusted by its people again.
SPDC needs NLD to participate in the election without ASSK and well respected NLD organizers who are serving their long jail terms. Their plan is to show the world that NLD participates in the election and failed, so their party becomes a winner party without rejection from the West.
If NLD refuses to register and block those who wanted to register and enter the election by expelling them or get the majority to vote against the idea, then SPDC might compromise and negotiate with NLD, because who knows… they might be bluffing.
Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD) the second largest winner party in 1990 announced that it will not register because their party leader Khun Htun Oo is still in the prison, without their party leader they will not registered. Also cease fire group Wa organization United Wa State Party (UWSP) and New Mon State Party (MNSP) refused to register as a political party because they do not like to accept the 2008 one sided constitution which does not guaranteed the ethnic rights.
One thing worries me is newly elected NLD’s CC members were selected directly by the CEC, especially by U Aung Shwe. Mostly majority are his men and women. NLD is going to decide whether they will register or not on March 29 with secret voting. This secret voting is a trick because it is possible that Aung Shwe already set up a plan for his followers to vote what he wants by using secret voting, so people will not know who want to register and who don’t. This kind of secret voting system designed to protect the identity of central committee members who agree with Aung Shwe and support the registration.
On the other hand, grass root NLD regional and division members are loudly talking about against the registration laws and “No” to register it. In addition, activists around the world totally rejected the idea of registration except a few so called intellectuals who think they know very well and it is the only way to surrender and participate in the election. Cease fire groups, Ethnic parties, grass root NLD regional members all speak out their opinions boycotting the election by refusing to register it.
If there is an open voting in the coming March 29, the result will favor the rejection of the registration, if not NLD banner will be robbed by Aung Shwe’s gang in the near future.