Junta set a date- is it pre-emptive to buy a hat?
We have all been waiting to hear when the elections in Burma happen, since we were told they would take place by the end of 2010. The ruling Generals, who make up the junta, have been getting their house in order, introducing new legislation in March, which further curtail the human rights of the population and prevent any practical possibility of open discussion or opposition to their rule.
So, finally, the junta have set a date. 7 November will be the first elections held in Burma in two decades. The last time the people of Burma went to the polls, they made their choice. The overwhelming majority voted in Aung San Suu Kyi at the head of the NLD party. However the military generals decided to ignore this exercise of democracy. They retained their grip on power, and Aung San Suu Kyi has spent the best part of the last 20 years imprisoned in her home.
This time the junta are taking no such chances. The newly-drafted legislation prevents anyone with a conviction from standing as a candidate, so that is most of the opposition out of the running. There are over 2,200 political prisoners currently languishing in Burmese jails for speaking out against the regime. Aung San Suu Kyi has already denounced the elections as a sham, and her NLD party took the decision to boycott the elections earlier in the year.
I doubt there is a bookie in the world who would give you odds against a landslide victory for the junta, who have already officially reserved about a quarter of the seats for the military.
I am fairly confident the junta's catering staff are already making plans for the victory party; dusting off the old banners and balloons and selecting the canapés, because one thing is guaranteed, like a coin with two heads, the junta are going to win.
You can find out more, and stand in solidarity with Burma’s political prisoners here.
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