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VOA News on Burma
DATE= JUNE 2, 1995
TITLE= BURMA'S THWARTED ELECTIONS
CONTENT=THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST
JUNE 2, 1995.
THE VOICE OF AMERICA PRESENTS DIFFERING POINTS OF VIEW ON A WIDE
VARIETY OF ISSUES. NEXT, AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the first free
elections in burma in more than thirty years. On may 27th,
1990, the national league for democracy won nearly sixty percent
of the valid votes cast and over eighty percent of the
parliamentary seats. The message of the election was clear: by
an overwhelming margin, the burmese people wanted a parliamentary
democracy to replace the military junta that ruled the country.
The junta had seized power in september 1988 after an
unprecedented popular uprising ended the long misrule of the
burma socialist program party. In imposing direct military rule,
burmese troops brutally suppressed countrywide demonstrations.
Thousands of opposition figures, including members of parliament,
were detained or exiled. In july 1989, aung san suu kyi, a
leader of the national league for democracy, was placed under
Believing that the opposition had been thoroughly
intimidated, the junta felt safe in holding elections. But the
generals in rangoon miscalculated. They underestimated the
resentment of the burmese people at years of economic stagnation
and political repression.
After the people of burma made their political will clear by
voting against the junta, the junta refused to accept the
election results. The military regime arrested opposition
leaders not already in detention. Hundreds of thousands of
burmese citizens were forcibly driven from their homes and
resettled in remote rural areas, often lacking basic necessities.
Ethnic minorities suffered forced labor, deportation, rape,
torture and summary execution. Basic civil liberties for all
burmese citizens were severely restricted.
The bayonets of the burmese military have proven a poor
substitute for the ballots cast by the burmese people. Once
again, the united states calls on burma's military rulers to
release aung san suu kyi and all other political prisoners and to
engage in dialogue aimed at an early restoration of democracy.
THAT WAS AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE UNITED
STATES GOVERNMENT. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE HEARD ON THIS ISSUE,
PLEASE WRITE TO EDITORIALS, VOICE OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D-C,
20547, U-S-A. YOU MAY ALSO SEND US A FAX AT (202) 619-1043.
YOUR COMMENTS MAY BE USED ON THE AIR.
01-Jun-95 2:23 PM EDT (1823 UTC)
Source: Voice of America