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1990 winners’ committee announce vote boycott

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Committee Representing the People’s Parliament in Burma announced today it would boycott the junta’s planned elections on November 7.

8_crpp_membersThe National League for Democracy (NLD) on September 16, 1998 formed the committee (CRPP) comprised of ethnic parties that won seats in the 1990 general election and the NLD, which won more than 80 per cent of available seats. The move came after the Burma’s ruling military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), failed to answer renewed calls to recognise the results of the 1990 polls and step down.

The boycott resolution was passed in the CRPP meeting last Friday at NLD party vice-chairman Tin Oo’s residence attended by nine of the committee’s members. The resolution urged the public to exercise its right to abstain from voting in the elections as per the provisions of junta’s electoral laws by shunning polling booths on the election date.

“The boycott means the people can use their right not to vote in the election if they feel it will not benefit to the people, country and themselves, in accordance with the electoral laws”, CRPP general secretary Aye Thar Aung told Mizzima.

“This election is conducted to bring the 2008 constitution into force … We have objected since the constitution stage too. We raised objections to the national referendum and withdrew [from the National Convention] while it was drafting this constitution,” Zomi National Congress (ZNC) chairman Pu Cing Tsian Thang said.

“Announcing constituencies and constituting legislative bodies are all derived from this constitution. Doing all these things based on a not-yet-operational constitution is unconstitutional. It is wrong. So we will boycott this election”, he said. ZNC is one of the constituent groups of the CRPP.

Wei-Hmu-ThwinCRPP leaders will accompany NLD leaders in their organisational tours to the states and division and will explain the boycott resolution. They will also listen to local people’s difficulties in maintaining their livelihoods and in their daily lives.
Also discussed at the meeting was the growing tension between ethnic armed ceasefire groups and junta forces over the latter’s Border Guard Force (BGF), and their concerns about potential civil wars breaking out.

Aye Thar Aung said that building national unity and establishing a genuine federal union could only be achieved through enacting a constitution based on the Panlong spirit, which could guarantee and implement democracy and ethnic rights.

The Panglong Agreement was a deal reached between the Burmese government under Aung San and the Shan, Kachin and Chin peoples on February 12, 1947, which accepted in principle “Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas” and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly (Burma’s first post-independence parliament).

NLD vice-chairman Tin Oo, NLD central executive committee members Win Tin, Than Tun, Hla Pe, Nyunt Wei and Thaug Ko Thang from the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), Aye Thar Aung from the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), Soe Win from the Democracy Party, and Pu Cing Tsian Thang from ZNC attended the meeting on Friday.
Similarly, the Myanmar Democracy Congress Party general secretary Wei Hmu Thwin also told Mizzima he would boycott the vote.

“The responses to political parties and activities done by election commission [the junta’s Union Election Commission] are totally unacceptable and unsatisfactory so our party didn’t field any candidates to the commission,” he said. “Some will stand for election as independents. To stand as a political party, a party needs to field at least three candidates in this election. But our party didn’t field any candidates. We can’t yet say what will happen to our party”,

Meanwhile, young political activists distributed in some areas of Rangoon yesterday leaflets that said people had the right to vote or not vote as per the electoral laws. They also said candidates had the right to withdraw their nomination papers in the stipulated time.

The leaflets quoted the electoral rights provided by the People’s Parliament Election Law Chapter 1, section two (n) as giving the right to stand in the election, not to stand, the right to withdraw nomination papers within the stipulated time and the right to vote or not vote.

When the CRPP was formed in 1998, the committee was chaired by Aung Shwe and had 10 positions. It was supported by 251 members of parliament elected in 1990, including MPs from other parties. The CRPP annulled all laws promulgated since September 18, 1998 and called for the release of all political prisoners.

The SPDC responded by arresting 110 NLD MPs and officials, including Dr Saw Mra Aung, who was detained from September 1998 to June 14, 2001. By the end of 1998, the SPDC had shut down 43 NLD offices, and has insisted on the dissolution of the CRPP as a precondition for the resumption of talks with the opposition. On October 23, 2002, the CRPP expanded its membership from 10 to 13 with new members representing three leaders from ethnic groups.

The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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