News / Asia

Burmese Generals Look to Election

Burma's defense minister and other top generals are reported to have resigned their posts, with some of them set to run for election as civilians in the nation's first political contest in 20 years.

News agencies quote unidentified sources close to the ruling junta as saying General Thura Shwe Mann, the third-ranking Burmese military leader, has retired as defense minister to join the Union Solidarity and Development Party. The party is the political wing of the military regime, which is favored to win the most seats in the November 7 parliamentary election.

Sources have told the German press agency and the exile-run Democratic Voice of Burma that Thura Shwe Mann is likely to become president of Burma after the election.  The junta's fourth-ranking general, Tin Aung Myint Oo, also resigned and is expected to be a candidate.

Pro-democracy critics of the Burmese regime say the election is a sham aimed at putting a civilian mask on the junta that controls the country. And military leaders in Burma have done all they can to marginalize and delegitimize the Burmese opposition, said Kelley Currie, a Senior Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, a Washington-based Asia focused think tank.

"So Burma post election, on the surface, the organization of the military dictatorship will look different and it will be more civilianized on the surface. But the reality is that political power will remain heavily concentrated in the hands of the military."

Meanwhile, The United States is voicing support for a United Nations commission to probe allegations of crimes against humanity in Burma. The military regime in Burma has long been accused of brutal campaigns against dissidents and ethnic minorities, as well as forced labor and civilian killings.

But despite international ostracism and pressure from rights groups, the regime has held a tight grip on power ever since it annulled the last credible elections in 1990 that would have brought activist Aung San Suu Kyi to power.  Kelley Currie said if the U.N. commission is empowered to target individuals in the Burmese regime, it could erode the junta's political unity.

"There have long been rumors and speculation about the factions and fissures within the military regime. They've been remarkably durable and cohesive," Currie said. "But it's a patronage system that's built on individual patronage networks.  That makes the possibility of going after individuals, it gives it a little more added power potentially,"

Curries points out that Burma remains a defiant, if isolated, military-run state. "At this point I think you're in the mode of having to throw the kitchen sink at the Burmese junta because we've tried so many approaches. Nothing has really worked to shake them loose," she said.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs