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Should political parties support or oppose each other on 2010 election?

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By Loa Htaw:
All political opposition parties across Burma must indeed support each other in the 2010 elections. The National League for Democracy (NLD), the ethnic minority armed groups, and newly formed political parties across Burma that are running in the elections must fight for a federal democratic country by whichever means they choose, but they can still fight together. These opposition forces must “divide and conquer”, and each play a role in determining Burma’s future as a federal democratic country, instead of only fighting for their particular party or ethnic group.

According to a Mon political observer “We should not use the old strategies, that all forces must belief and fight in the same way, like they have before. We must divide our forces and each take on different roles. Some parties should boycott the constitution and elections, while cease-fire groups should take an armed stance, and other groups should work with the [Burmese] government closely and legally [run in the 2010 elections].”

Within the first of these divisions fall many ethnic minority parities, and especially the NLD, which won the general election in 1990. Such parties have consistently stated that they will boycott the Burmese government’s constitution and its election which does not benefit Burma citizens and ethnic minority groups.

The two main Mon political parties, the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) and New Mon State Party (NMSP) do not approve of the 2008 constitution, and will not participate in the elections unless the Burmese government opens a reconciliation talks with the NLD and all other ethnic minority groups, in order to review and rewrite the constitution so that it guarantees human rights and ethnic rights for all ethnic groups inside Burma.

Currently, many ethnic minority political parties or cease-fire groups, such as the New Mon State Party (NMSP), the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) are under pressure from the Burmese government, to transform their armed wings into government-run Border Guard Force groups or militia groups. The government has threatened the cease-fire groups that their cease-fire agreements may break after April 28th if they reject the government’s demands.

The ethnic armed groups form the second of these divisions. They plan to defend their parties and will fight if the government will attacks them. “We will fight. We will not accept as militia group and we will not trust the government anymore” said vice-chairman of the NMSP Nai Rot Sa, while talking with an IMNA reporter last week.

A third group of opposition forces, parties like the All Mon Region for Democracy Party (AMRDP), the Karen People’s Party (KPP), and other ethnic minority parties, have decided to fight for the Burmese people within the limits of Burmese law.

“We believe in fighting in a peaceful and legal way. We should grab whatever the government offers to us. If they give 1% we should take it,” said a spoke-person of the AMRDP, Dr. Min Nwe Soe, to IMNA last week.

“The All Mon Region Democracy Party believes that Mon people should have a Mon party which will represent them, and the AMRDP aims to represent both the Mon people living in all regions, and to represent every ethnic minority group in the Mon region” he stated in IMNA’s coverage of the party on April 23rd.

In brief, although the three forces have different views on the best way of approaching the government and solving Burma’s political problems, in fact all three have the same goal: fighting for a revolution in Burma that will turn the nation into a federal democratic state, which will guarantee ethnic minority rights. Thus, both the first force, the 1990 election parties who want to boycott the elections, and the second force, the cease-fire groups who want to fight, should support the new opposition parties in whatever way they can.

In particular, the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF), the NMSP, other Mon political groups and the entirety of the Mon people also are responsible for the success of groups like the All Mon Region for Democracy Party, to help these groups win the coming election, especially in Mon state, so that Mon People can be represented in the new parliament of the country.

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