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Burma's junta makes a mockery of the democratic process

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Is Senior General Than Shwe gone mad? This question comes forward after the junta headed by Than Shwe announces election laws. Many would agree in the affirmative, "yes." Than Shwe has gone out his mind. What is wrong with him is the power. Power crazy. He seems exceedingly frightened to loose power, some analysts say.

The junta's election law and political party registration law released on March 8 are nothing but aimed particularly at Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. It is squeezing her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), to eject her as she is serving a sentence under house arrest.

Burma's new election rules forbid anyone convicted by a court from participating in the elections. And it is required of all political parties to depose all imprisoned members to be legalized parties. Since Suu Kyi is the most prominent Opposition figure, without her participation, the vote cannot have much credibility.

Although Than Shwe seeks kicking her out of politics, she remains a symbol of oppositions. Neither can elections be seen as all-inclusive if the 2,200 political prisoners are incapable to participate in this secret ballot. Without her and them in the election, constituency members' choice will be strictly incomplete.

With the date of the elections yet to be announced, Suu Kyi's party has not decided as yet to take part. The latest law to be published officially calls off the result of the country's last 1990 elections in which the NLD won a landslide victory but the junta never let the party to come to power.

The law also gives the existing parties including the NLD 60 days from March 8 to register, which is again nothing but pressuring the NLD to decide promptly whether it will expel Suu Kyi and contest the elections or pull out of the process. The registration rules also require loyalty to the controversial 2008 constitution, which withholds a quarter of all parliamentary seats for the military a mockery of the democratic process.

"A mockery of the democratic process'

The UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon renewed his call for Burma/Myanmar to "ensure an inclusive political process leading to fair, transparent and credible elections in which all citizens of the country, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, can freely take part," his office said in a statement while the US condemned the Myanmar's new legislation as a "mockery".

"The political party registration law makes a mockery of the democratic process and ensures the upcoming election will be devoid of credibility," US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on March 10.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the law showed the junta's "contempt for the democratic process."

"Aung San Suu Kyi said she never expected such repressive laws would come out but said she's not disappointed," her party spokesman Nyan Win told reporters after meeting the 64-year-old democracy leader at her home on March 12.

"She said such challenges call for unyielding responses and calls on the people and democratic forces to take common action against such unfair laws," he said. Nevertheless, the detained pro-democracy symbol Aung San Suu Kyi advised members of the NLD to discuss the party's Shwegondaing declaration and why the 2008 Constitution is intolerable via her lawyer Nyan Win.

Despite UN, US, EU and Japan persistently call on to free Suu Kyi, the junta's Senior General showed that he still regarded her as his arch enemy. He blew out proportion a weird incident that happened in May when an American trespasser swam to her lakeside villa. Keeping her under arrest this long years proves the junta still feels demoralized by her presence in political horizon. She is the idol who provides encouragement to the people of Burma.

However, Than Shwe has his confidence in getting the support of ASEAN, China and India for his political hoodwink of the 2010 elections. At the same time, he makes use of bullying tactics upon the National League for Democracy, which is the only challenger to its supremacy at home. That is why Than Shwe decided to wipe out Suu Kyi from the elections scheduled for 2010. He has made that clear now.

As a dictator, Than Shwe used to blame the failures of his regime on others. He blames Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD for country's underdevelopment instead of military's mismanagements. He trusts no one and is a cold-blooded political plotter who will commit any felony to achieve his goal. The Dapeyin Massacre or assassination plot of the Lady on 30 May 2003 is a visible example. Some of his peers in military remarked that he is a double-dealing and cunning Machiavellian, always masking his true nature behind a mask of superiority and courtesy.

In his study of dictators, political psychologist Jerrold M. Post takes up the concept of "malignant narcissism" to describe the psychological chaos raging in dictators' minds. Post argues that malignant narcissism in dictators is a manifestation of the "absence of conscience [moral vacuum], insatiable psychological need for power, unconstrained aggression, paranoid outlook and [inflated] sense of self-importance and grandiosity".

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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