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Burma/ Myanamar: Post-Election Balance Sheet

By Nilantha Ilangamuwa

18 November, 2015

While some of her neighbouring countries have disavowed the negative aspects of their political tendencies, the natural resources-rich nation in Asia which has suffered the decadeslong military rule has shown their solidarity, cohesion, camaraderie and faith in democracy. The people in the nation have drawn attractive lines of political freedom.

The November 8 election was concluded with almost zero violence, and it was the first “free and fair” election of the country’s history. Burma the country marked the end of political chrysalis after democratic resistance against the undemocratic rules by suppression, by electing new government to rule.

The winner has been officially announced and quickly leaders around the world sent their greetings and congratulations to the winner. The country is now going through a period of power transformation while people in general are being the part of political tamasha.

Meanwhile, predecessors were promised not only in the peaceful transformation of the political power but also positive contributions to the newly elected government. Signals from all parties are enthusiastic for the moment. But the challenge is carefully understanding how to address the core issues of the country in general. How to convert the dysfunctional state mechanism based on authoritarian orders into the functional system based on democratic principles.

Social transformation is the most important event of any nation. It is in this moment the driving force of the nation can decide the path of the nation and their respective people. In other words, those who are privileged have the responsibilities to fulfil the hopes of the ordinary citizen or otherwise deceive the public toward wrong directions.

We believe the winning party, National League for Democracy ( NLD), will take the responsibility and the necessary steps to accomplish the goal mentioned in their election manifesto. As it reads, “the emerge of the truly democratic government that would guarantee basic human rights and be in line with the wishes of the people; the flourishing of a democratic political system in accordance with the desire of the people of Burma; and the laying down of foundations for a strong and durable union.”

It is time to draw the public attention to the election manifesto. The winner’s manifesto has highlighted their mutual understanding and the principals to solve the problems. As it pointed out; first, the government will start the political dialogue base on the Panglong spirit in order to address the roots of internal armed conflict. Second, the new government will take effective action in order to establish a society free of corruption. Third, the judiciary will be free of the influence and the control of the executive branch. Fourth, making necessary steps to have the independent police force, while accepting the Tatmadaw (The Myanmar Armed Forces) as an essential institution of the state. Fifth, the new government will establish a public financial management system.

However, most of the promises in the election manifesto have not only addresses the necessities of the issues prevailing on the surface, but also it has won the hearts of the people. This is what the result has shown. Nonetheless, we should not ignore that when people have the chance to express on the generations-long suppression, their expression is merely based on emotions. It has rarely dealt with the structural failure of the country. It is those who win the hearts of those emotions that have the responsibility to fullfil the true political freedom based on transparency and accountability.

The present structural failure in the country is the result of the systematically annihilation of the basic requirements of humanity. It has paralysed every part of the society while erasing the fundamental rights of the people. In that process, the country produced erased people out of scars of the erasure.

The challenge in the post-election era is to win the minds not only of those who have casts their votes but all in general, and earned the true victory over the democratic governance.

Nilantha Ilangamuwa edits the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily newspaper, and he also an editor of the Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives, bi-monthly print magazine. He is the author of the just released non-fictions, “Nagna Balaya” (The Naked Power), in Sinhalese and “The Conflation”, in English. He can be reached at ilangamuwa@gmail.com


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