Saturday, February 09, 2008

Totalitarian elections in Burma

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Reuters: "Myanmar's (i.e., Burma's) military government will hold a referendum on a new constitution in May this year followed by multi-party elections in 2010, the first in two decades, state television announced on Saturday."

But don't expect genuine democracy. The new constitution, currently being drafted, will likely "ensure the top leadership comes from the military," and having many parties won't mean much if one party is permanently the dominant one and there is no real opposition to military rule.

Of course, other totalitarian and authoritarian states hold "democratic" elections, too. In this sense, the Soviet Bloc satellites of Eastern Europe were "democratic" -- just as Saddam was the "democratic" ruler of Iraq, like so many other examples.

In other words, Burmese "democracy" will be a sham. The totalitarians may want their brutally undemocratic rule to be given the stamp of democratic legitimacy, along with some international stamp of approval, but what they may not understand is that their motives are transparent.

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