Burma Briefing No. 1
Burma’s generals have finally announced Sunday 7th November as the date of their ‘elections’. However, Burma’s elections do not signify democratic change. They are designed to facilitate the transition from military to civilian dictatorship, with the hope that a showcase Parliament and government officials in longyis and suits instead of military uniforms will be enough to persuade the international community to drop sanctions and diplomatic pressure.
Little has been left to chance, with opposition figures detained, a new constitution designed to maintain dictatorship whoever wins the elections, and a 25 percent allocation for the military in Parliament making it impossible to amend that constitution.
It is time to move on from focussing on the elections. The international community should unite behind a UN-led effort to secure negotiations between the dictatorship, the democracy movement and ethnic representatives.