A multi-party general election was held on November 7 this year in Burma. In accordance with the figures pronounced by the Union Election Commission (UEC), a total of 1,148 candidates representing political parties and six independent candidates were elected as parliamentary representatives at three levels.
The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), led by Prime Minister Thein Sein, won the majority of 882 parliamentary seats or 76.43 percent out of the total 1, 154 seats. The USDP is followed by the National Unity Party (NUP) with 64 seats, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) with 57 seats, Rakhine Nationalities Development Party with 35 seats, National Democratic Force (NDF) and the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP) each with 16 at three levels of parliament.
Meanwhile, the SNDP has achieved extraordinary unity among ethnic Shan nationals, Chairman Sai Aik Paung told a party conference in Taunggyi in mid-December. The December 13-15 conference put in order about 180 members, including 57 winning candidates from the November 7 election, as said by the Myanmar Times in its December 20 – 26, 2010 Issue.
The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party won 57 of the 156 seats and the third-largest number of candidates in national and regional legislatures, after the USDP.
At the same time, the three ceasefire armed groups have challenged the Burma Army that pressured them to transform into the Border Guard Forces (BGFs). For that cause, the groups are declining the BGF plan in order to avoid the Burmese junta’s oppressive strategies. The UWSA, the NDAA, and the Shan State Army-North along with other armed ethnic groups are defying the military regime’s demands on them to join its Border Guard Force (BGF). Actually, the junta’s BGF program intended to win over the ceasefire groups through laying down their arms.
Coincidentally, the United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s political wing United Wa State Party (UWSP) has drawn another proposal which includes a point demanding for a state with the right of self determination from the new government, quoting UWSP sources Shan Herald Agency for News.
The UWSP’s new proposal, which is to be presented to the new parliamentary government in early 2011, includes the following six points.
(1) The Wa stands for the Wa State’s peace and development; (2) The Wa State shall have its own armed force. Wa weapons will remain in Wa hands. The Wa armed force will also remain in Wa State; (3) The Wa will not secede from the Union; (4) The Wa will never demand or declare independence under any (Union) government; (5) The Wa will steadfastly demand for a state with the Right of Self Determination from every (Union) government until it is achieved; (6) The Wa are ready to discuss Wa affairs with the upcoming government, upholding a policy of non-alignment and neutrality.
The said proposal was drawn at the UWSP’s 5th annual district level party congress which is being held in Mongmai, 170 km north of its main base Panghsang from 20 to 29 December. According to a Wa officer, after the December Congress, the UWSP leading party committee will send its delegation to talk with the new government on the basis of ‘Opposition to War’ and ‘Work for Peace and Development’ principle.
Subsequently, the General meeting of the 3rd Central Standing Committee (CSC) of the 14th KNU Congress was fruitfully held from December 14 to 19, 2010, according to a Karen National Union (Supreme Headquarters) source. KNU adopted the four guiding principles delineated by the late heroic leader Saw Ba U Gyi. The four principles are “Surrender is out of the question”, “We shall retain our arms”, “Recognition of Karen State must be complete” and “We shall decide our own political destiny.”
KNU says in its statement dated 23 December 2010: “As the parliament and government that would come into being according to the SPDC Road Map were for realization of the 2008 Constitution, the meeting adopted the view that instead of resolving the problems faced by Burma, it would create more insecurity and conflicts, especially in the political and military fields.”
According to SPDC’s 2008 constitution, the incoming legislative body will convene its first session 90 days after the election to elect president and vice presidents and to form a new government. However, the first issue for the new government will be the question of autonomy. The ethnic parties represented in parliament and also outside the legislative body have the same demand in favor of self-determination.
And as the so-called new civilian government is the reincarnation of the same military itself, autonomy seems to be out of question. Similarly the national reconciliation proposal by Burma’s Nobel laureate has to face the same fate.
After the 2010 election, the ethnic people of Burma still struggle for self-determination.