In Magwe division, government officials threatened villagers with forced relocation unless they vote for the regime-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDA). Over 3,400 ethnic minority villages will not be allowed to vote, disenfranchising approximately 1.5 million ethnic minorities. Most importantly, this sham election will usher in a constitution where the most powerful person remains the Commander in Chief of the military.
The Burmese regime is hoping this election gives them legitimacy in the international community. The U.S. must stand against these elections and pressure its global allies to stand with us. Email President Obama today calling on him to come out strongly against these elections.
In the lead up to the election, USCB supporters held more than 50 events at universities and communities around the country educating Americans about how the election will exacerbate problems in Burma. In Kachin state, northern region of the country, ethnic leaders fear attacks by the Burmese Army after the coming elections.
Burma's leading democratic groups including the National League for Democracy, the 88 Student Generation, the All Burma Monks Alliance, and ethnic representatives, have come out against this election. Political prisoners are barred from running for office, excluding Aung San Suu Kyi from the ballot. In addition, campaigning is highly restricted and dominated by the military-backed party. Many high-ranking military members recently covered their military uniforms with civilian clothing in order to run in the election.
Critically, this election will bring into power a constitution drafted behind closed doors by the regime cronies. The constitution allows the Commander in Chief to dissolve the parliament at any given time. In other words, the military will still call the shots, post election. To make sure they remain in power, 25% of the parliamentary seats are reserved for the current military members, making it impossible to amend the constitution (which requires over 75% of votes). A former UN Special Rapporteur to Burma recently emphasized that this election is not a step towards democracy but rather a step towards "military consolidation."
Be the voice for the people of Burma. Ask President Obama to denounce the results of Burma's 2010 sham election and to demand a tripartite dialogue between the democratic forces, the ethnic representatives, and the military regime - critical for national reconciliation.
Stand with us as we stand with the people of Burma today. Thank you for your continued support. We will keep you posted as events unfold in Burma in the coming weeks.