A date with the Burma elections

At last could it really be upon us: democracy in Burma. Well that was the promise.Indeed, we were all led to believe that today would be the day when the ruling military junta would finally name a date for elections.And what happened? Nothing, nada, zip. Well OK it wasn’t totally nothing. There was the news that there would be five new elections laws, but this being Burma only one of them was, as the BBC reported, deemed important enough to be made public. And that was a new law announcing that the election commission would be hand-picked by the junta – so much for free and fair then.The other main announcement was the actual make-up of the new parliament. As the Independent reported, the 440-member House of Representatives will have 330 elected civilians and 110 military representatives; while the 224-member House of Nationalities will seat 168 elected candidates and 56 nominated by the military chief.This in itself was nothing particularly new – the split between civilian and military personnel had been revealed in the constitution that was ‘passed’ back in 2008 and roundly lambasted by Amnesty shortly after.There was also no news on Aung San Suu Kyi. The release of the leader of the National League for Democracy – the victors of the last elections in 1990 – is, as The Times reported this morning, widely considered to be the bare minimum requirement if the international community are to accept the results of the new poll.But enough of my scepticism: tomorrow is after all another day…

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