1990 Election to 2010 Election in Burma
By: Aung Lynn Htut
After 20 years, Burmese military dictator Senior General Than Shwe made a well planned decision to hold a non-natural election in 2010. He has a lot of experience from the past. He served many years in the military psychological warfare department and Burmese Socialist Party when he was younger. It is very difficult to guess what he will do next. He is a cool blood. He never agrees to any suggestion from anyone. At this point, he is worse than military dictator Ne Win (1962-1988), Saw Maung (1988-1992). As you know, the Burmese people demonstrated the Burmese Socialist government to step down from state power in 1988. They disliked military back up socialist government. They wanted to change democracy government. During the 1988 crisis, Ne Win called the emergency meeting in his house, AD road on September 18, 1988.
The top socialist government members and General Saw Maung (Commander in Chief), Colonel Khin Nyunt (Director of Military Intelligence) attended in this meeting. Khin Nyunt explained about up to date information of the people demonstration in Burma. And then, Ne Win asked the top socialist members about the situation of Burmese Socialist Party. They told Ne Win that there were millions of socialist party members in the whole country. They believed that they might win if the election holds in Burma. Subsequent to meeting, Ne Win decided to hand over state power to Burmese military with four declarations statement. One of the declarations was to hold the free and fair election in 1990. Ne Win instructed to Burmese military to establish State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in this meeting. Dr. Maung Maung (former President and Chief Justice) wrote down the four declaration statement on the spot. In the same day, they announced the state order about military took the state power and hold the multi parties election to the country from Myanmar Radio and Television Station.
Ne Win put the Burmese demonstrators and anti-politicians into the election track by announcement on September 18, 1988. After that all people from Burma were calm down in 1988. He broke the demonstration by the election weapon. And then, he established a new party, National Unity Party (former Burmese Socialist Party), to elect in the election. They believed that National Unity Party will win the votes. They thought that if they lose the election, they will get almost 50 percentage votes. Before the election, General Saw Maung, Chairman of SLORC, promised to the people that he will hand over the state power to the winning party and Burmese military officers and soldiers will return to the their barracks for military duties after election. But, he broke his promise himself. Daw Aung Sun Su Kyi’s party, National League for Democracy (NLD), won the 1990 election by over 80 percentage votes. Ne Win’s military back up National Unity party lost the election and it got only 5 percentage votes.
After Daw Aung Sun Su Kyi’s party victory, there was very shock and complicated among the top military generals. They did not know how to solve these problems. The most of generals were hard liners. They were much closed with General Than Shwe (Vice Chairman of SLORC). At that time, some members from NLD demanded to take action Colonel and above military officers because they killed the thousands of innocent Burmese people in 1988 crisis. The generals worried about it how to stand the future Burmese military and survive their future. The hard liners generals gave the pressure on Chairman of SLORC, Senior General Saw Maung, to ignore the election result. Some soft liners generals, including General Khin Nyunt also agreed to ignore the election result. Finally, Saw Maung issued the government order 1/1990 regarding the 1990 election. The ordered that the responsibility of winning party was only to write a new constitution for the country. Indeed, the military government had no plan to change the power. They betrayed and deceived the people of Burma. They broke their promise easily. Later than, Saw Maung was a drunkard. He felt the mental problem. At last, Saw Maung was removed by Than Shwe in 1992, April. Furthermore, the 1990 election was buried with Saw Maung.
Senior General Than Shwe learned many lessons from the past. After Than Shwe took the power, he made a plan to hold National Convention in 1993. He tricked the Burmese politicians by national constitution. He broke the government order 1/90 again. He did not allow the leading roll to winning party NLD for writing national constitution. He put the leading roll of military point in the one of the main principal points in National Convention. He has no desire to give leading roll to civilians. He made a long term plan to build military persons in the future politics of Burma. He persuaded the ethnic armed groups to attend the national convention. At that time, he agreed to discuss them about politics for ethnic groups in the national convention. In 1994, he established Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA) for backing the military government. And then, he set up militia, people power groups and many civilians committees in Burma.
Union Election Commission Meeting
He provided two guide lines that these are offensive diplomacy and political defiance. According to his guide lines, the military officers and Burmese diplomats approached the diplomats from foreign countries and organize the dissident groups of Burmese people from inside and outside of Burma. His targets were popular and educated persons from domestic and abroad. He uses the method of the best treatment and gifts on them. The main objective is that they need to oppose Daw Aung Sun Su Kyi and NLD party. He made the propaganda to abroad and domestic that she is not willing to negotiate with Burmese military. She is a hard liner and stubborn. Finally, everybody does not believe Daw Aung Sun Su Kyi is a hard liner. They believe that Senior General Than Shwe destroys the ethical, character, culture, natural resources in Burma. He wants to hold the power for his family until he dies. Therefore, he made many plans to win the 2010 election.
If Daw Aung Sun Su Kyi and National League for Democracy Party (NLD) join the 2010 election, Than Shwe prepares the plans. General Than Shwe made three plans regarding the 2010 election. “A” plan is if military back up party win in election obviously, he will hand over his power to them and he will be behind the administration like as Former Chinese leader Teng Sheng Feng, Iran Religious Leader Ayatola Khamani, etc: “B” plan is if the military back up party win in election indistinctly, he will hold the power from the back and he has no plan to revoke military council. He will be like as North Korea leader Kim Jong II, Cuba leader Castrol etc: “C” plan is if the military back up party loses in election, the military will coup the state power again. He has no desire to hand over his power to other because of their safety.
Before the plans, he collected the information from domestic and abroad. Burmese embassies from abroad reported him about foreign governments how to manage their country. They sent constitutions of foreign governments to Than Shwe' office. He always wants to know about international leaders’ point of view on him. He knows that he broke the human right in Burma. He ordered his military to kill the thousands of innocent Burmese people during his time. He fear that International Court takes the action on him, like as Serbia president Melosovic, Liberia president Charles Taylor, Sudan president Bashar etc: In early 2008, he called Thaung Nyunt who is a member of national convention commission and law maker to his room. He ordered Thaung Nyunt that the amnesty act put in 2008 constitution for Burmese military during his term. Actually, the state constitution is to protect for General Than Shwe and family. Burmese people approved the constitution on May, 2008. He allowed issuing the election law on March, 2010, but he does not allow publicizing the Election Day. He will wait and see the repercussion from the people of domestic and abroad concerning the election.
Currently, he is unsatisfied his plan because the ethnic armed groups denied his order to accept Border Guard Force and Chinese government does not agree to give more pressure on the ethnic armed groups along the border. And then, he is really concerned to achieve legitimacy on the election and new government from the international countries and the United Nation. Freshly, Mr. Cambell’s statement is very effective. I think that Than Shwe must consider US’s policy on Burma and he will approach with China, Russia and ASEAN.
My idea is, if more countries do not give more pressure to Than Shwe, he will continue to hold the election without Daw Aung Sun Su Kyi and NLD. If U.S and more countries give strong pressure, he may be change in mind. I think that he will do something near future. He is possible to release some political prisoners. According to my experience, he often tells us that Daw Aung Sun Su Kyi is the last card for Burmese politics. Nobody can say Than Shwe uses the last card. We need to prepare the strategy how to do if Than Shwe uses the last card. Unless he uses the last card, we need more and more pressure on him. I would like to remind you that we should not ignore the plan to support current anti military officers and soldiers in Burma. And then, we need encourage to the people of Burma demonstrating the Than Shwe and family.
Dated: June 1, 2010