Burmese leader fears harsh military crackdown

03/31/2010 16:05

Win Tin believes that Myanmar’s ruling military junta will crackdown on the National League for Democracy. He anticipates the government to outlaw the party, but is certain that the opposition will continue the struggle “to dismantle the entire military dictatorship”. Tokyo announces a freeze on aid to Myanmar until Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Myanmar’s military regime is likely to launch a new crackdown against the National League for Democracy (NLD), this according U Win Tin, a member of the party’s Central Executive Committee. “Our movements will be very much limited when we don’t have a party. If we” do move “and stand against them [the junta], they will declare our party an unlawful association,” said Win Tin who was a political prisoner between 1989 and 2008.  Meanwhile, the Japanese government has decided to freeze aid to Myanmar until Aung San Suu Kyi is released.

The NLD, which is the main opposition party, will not participate in parliamentary elections organised by the military junta for this year. Its central executive committee decided in a unanimous vote on Monday to stay away from the poll. However, if the party fails to register by 6 May, it will no longer be deemed a lawful organisation.

In the last elections held in 1990, the party had won by a landslide (82 per cent of the vote), but it was never able to take power because the military government refused to accept the result.

Win Tin (pictured), who spent 19 of his 80 years behind bars for his role in the struggle for democracy, is strongly opposed to registering the party. NLD leader and Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is also against it.

“We are working to abolish and dismantle the entire military dictatorship,” he said. For this reason, he expects them to “come down harshly against us,” he said. 

“We cannot expel Aung San Suu Kyi” just to run in these elections, he explained. Likewise, “We do not accept the regime's unilaterally drafted constitution,” which is “designed to legalise permanent military dictatorship.”

The NLD’s decision has not met with unanimous approval at home or among junta opponents abroad.
Some are in favour, like Burmese poet Ko Lay who was “pleased with this decision,” believing that “this election will not take place”, and the Indian Parliamentarians Forum for Democracy in Burma (IPFDB), which called the NLD’s decision a bold step against the military junta.

Others are against it. The New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research said the NLD is making a mistake by staying out of the political process, since the elections could provide it with a window of opportunity.

In the meantime, Japan’s foreign minister Katsuya Okada said that Tokyo would freeze aid to Burma unless the junta released opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and allowed her to participate in elections this year.


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