09/03/2020, 11.39
MYANMAR
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Card Bo: Vote to realize Aung San’s ideal of federalism

The Archbishop of Yangon publishes a 10-point appeal two months ahead of elections. Economic and social justice, integrity of candidates and the fight against the many pandemics are the ideals to be followed. Voting is a sacred duty and a sign of active participation, especially for the weaker classes. There is no peace without justice.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - Economic and social justice, the integrity of candidates, the fight against many pandemics - from Covid-19 to hunger and wars – and the pursuit of a true "political and economic federalism":  These are some of the guidelines drawn up by the Archbishop of Yangon, Card Charles Maung Bo, in view of the general elections scheduled for November in Myanmar.

In the 10-point message sent to the faithful, the cardinal recalls the “blessing” that comes from suffrage: “In this historic moment, I address each one of you, not as a politician but as a religious person, as your own brother desiring only the common good and the welfare of the whole community of Myanmar”.

“Voting - writes the Burmese cardinal - is is not only a right but a sacred duty.   This is part of our long pilgrimage to democracy.”. As sons and daughters of this golden nation, he continues, we "deserve peace" after decades of conflict. The "armed response" to the divisions has generated "thousands of victims" and "thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons. This dark era must end, so I urge you to vote for peace”.

The upcoming general and state elections in Myanmar are scheduled for 8 November; the vote is considered by many to be a test for the country's full democratic transition after decades of military domination. The session will take place in all states of the country, including conflict zones. Up for grabs are 330 seats in the lower house and 168 in the upper house of the national parliament. 25% are reserved for the military, which is still the dominant force. Another 644 seats (plus 29 for ethnic minorities) will be in play for state assemblies.

Analysts predict a new victory for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, who recently announced her candidacy for a second term. However, the party of the Democratic leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner does not seem to be able to conquer the wide margin obtained in 2015, when Myanmar voted in multi-party elections after more than 50 years of military dictatorship. The difficult economic situation affects the decline in consensus.

Card Bo recalls that the vote is "essential" to guarantee a "true participation" of the poorest in the choices of power, so no one should be relegated to the margins. Indeed, the goal is "to strengthen the voice of the voiceless, through democracy". As the religions underline, he adds, "there is no peace without justice" that is both economic and socio-environmental.

In his Decalogue, the cardinal asks to "identify the hate merchants" who ruin the country, while "foreign investments" which can help create "a sustainable future for our people" are to be welcomed. Human development must be "a fundamental right", which previous [military] regimes have "systematically denied" by blocking "the development of our people" and of a rich nation, at least at a potential level.

Finally, the Archbishop of Yangon invites voters to look "not only at the intelligence, but also at the integrity" of the candidates, to form a ruling class capable of dealing with the many pandemics: hunger, conflict and displaced persons, of insecure migrations, of a low quality education, in addition to that of the new coronavirus. “Vote - he concludes - for a true Political and Economic Federalism:  General Aung San lived and died for the dream of a true political and economic federalism. Vote for those who support General Aung San’s dream.   Let there be a new dawn of peace and prosperity.”

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