Friday, August 23, 2013

Remarkable Signs of True Democracy in Cambodia and Myanmar

The CNPR leader, Sam Rainsey
The NLD leader, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar 
The NLD supporters in 2012 election campaign, Myanmar
The CNRP supporters in 2013 election campaign
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

​       Currently the people of Cambodia and Myanmar are struggling their ways toward true democracy in their countries. For Cambodia, the democratic principle implanted by the Paris Peace Accord in 1991 has never prosperously grown to its potential but marred by the ruling party,the CPP which has never had a good will to further democracy instead to lead the country toward dictatorship. For Myanmar, the crackdown on pro-democracy movements, the house arrest of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, and the nullity of election results by the Military Junta in 1989 have held the country backward from a step toward democracy. But now both peoples have determined to bring true democracy for their countries, which they have cried for long enough. Nonetheless, historically, the political situations of the two countries have developed in different context.

       Myanmar, the country that has similar size and the number of population (60 millions) with Thailand, had won its independence from Great Britain in 1948 and embraced itself with democratic principle that had been implanted by the  British Empire. But the country fell under the Junta rule in 1962 when the military coup led by General Ne Win,  had removed President U Nu ( a democratic elected president) from the power accusing him of too much favoring of Buddhism and many ethnic minorities in the country. The Military Junta has ruled the country in authoritarian style with socialism economy by nationalizing all the country mid-size and large businesses while allowing some degree of freedom in religion, small businesses,  organizations, and expression but very limited in politics. In 1989,the collapse of Berlin Wall and subsequently the whole Communist system in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union along with mass protest by the students had sent political messages for the Military Junta to reform their political system by allowing the first meaningful election in the country.

     The National League for Democracy, the NLD won the election but ignored by the Junta, and many NLD activists including Ms. Suu kyi have been placed in jails or house arrests by the military government until 2011. when the new civilian government led by President Thein Sein has made the genuine political and economic reforms, Ms.Suu Kyi and most of her supporters were released from the house arrests and jails. This new political development has received  great welcome from the international community especially the US and the EU. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was invited to the White House and the US Congress, and she was warmly greeted and honored by President Obama and the Members of the Congress as the champion of democracy in the world. And in 2012, President Obama has become the first US President to visit Myanmar in history. Along with diplomatic triumph in the broad, the NLD led by Ms. Suu Kyi swept the landslide victory over the by-election that had conducted to fill in the parliamentary vacancies 45 seats from among 664 seats. The NLD won 43 seats from the 45 seats in the contest. Such a remarkable victory of the NLD in this fractional election has previewed the great coming victory of the NLD in 2015 general election that will finally bring the true democracy to the people of Myanmar who have fought hard and sacrificed for over half a century.

      Historically, Cambodian people have gone through more turbulent time than the Myanmar people :the brutal war followed by the killing fields, the Vietnamese invasion fallowed by another protracted war against the Vietnamese occupation until the Paris Peace Agreement 1991. Although Cambodia had received the first free and fair election sponsored by the UN, but the fruit of the Paris Peace Accord and the UN mandate have completely waned and replaced by the quasi authoritarian regime of Prime Minister Hun Sen, a notorious leader in Cambodian history. Since the Paris Peace Accord 1991, Cambodia has adopted the principle of democracy and the constitutional monarchy in a new constitution, but in deed, it has only on the paper. In reality, Cambodia has still ruled by the de facto Communist regime through nepotism, intimidation, corruption, and election rig. During the time of the Paris Peace Conference probably no body had imagined that 20 years ahead the progress of democracy has stuck in such a current situation. So far Cambodia have finished its fifth election and each election has been marred by a systematic fraud [ more technical proofs have divulged by the CVCUS recently] by the ruling party, the only winner in every election.

      If the election is free and fair, the CNPR will sweep the landslide victory as the NLD did in the by-election in 2012. But compared to Myanmar, democracy in Cambodia has regressed and waned, but on the contrary, the hearts and the will of Cambodian people are much stronger, more determined, and more united than ever before. The 55 seats out of 123 seats from an unofficial election results are not the numbers the people have expected for the performance of the CNRP but merely the left over numbers from all means of fraud committed by the ruling party, the CPP. The more the CPP have intimidated and cheated, the harder and stronger the people will have resisted them. Such a dubious election result has shown that Cambodia is still far behind Myanmar in term of the progression of democracy even though it has reformed its political system over 20 years ahead of Myanmar. Because the CPP, the proxy of Hanoi, has no political will to bring true democracy and justice to the people, for it would be a political suicide for themselves. Their undeserved power has not come from the hearts and the will of the people but deceived them.

        Politically, Cambodian people not only have struggled for true democracy and justice but also the survival for their country from a powerful neighbor, Vietnam that historically as well as currently has deeply interfered into Cambodia internal affairs which is a real imminent obstacle to peace, stability, and true democracy to Cambodia. Without such Hanoi's interference, Cambodian people would have enjoyed true democracy that all the super powers in the world had granted them at the Paris Peace Conference. But, unfortunately, this principle of true democracy has been robbed and destroyed by the Hanoi's proxy CPP which has ruled the country by all unjust means. Through the CPP, Hanoi has polarized and broken up the unity of Cambodian people in order to control and to swallow Cambodia through their historic political blueprint of greater Indochina Federation in the region. Whereas, Myanmar has no such a circumstance surrounding it. The military leaders are the Myanmar Nationalists; they came to rule the country on their own political agenda and faith: not the lackey, the puppet, the protege, and the proxy of any outside power in compare to Hun Sen and his CPP. Meanwhile, their two greater neighbors, China and India have always treated them in mutual respect. Albeit China seems to have more influence in the country, but it is in term of equal and mutual benefits for both countries. And as the country in process of political reform, the China influence has started to fade away too; recently the Myanmar government has cancelled about 4 billion dollar of Chinese investment and probably replaced it with the investments from the US, the EU or Japan which usually are more sustainable and transparent than the investment from China.

        The People of Myanmar and Cambodia have suffered similarly from the Military Junta's brutal rule and the Communist dictatorship rule of the notorious leaders Pol Pot and Hun Sen. But now the people of the two countries have been on the process to finish the dictatorship which ruled by one privilege man or group. The by-election landslide victory of the NLD in early 2012 is a promising sign that the 2015 general election will definitely bring a true democracy and change for Myanmar. For Cambodia, the election process and the post-election crisis have proved that Cambodia democracy which has been implanted by the UN for over two decades has no room to grow but to dwindle. The continuous power grip by the CPP, the de facto Communist party, is a real obstacle to sustainable democracy proliferation in Cambodia .Nevertheless, the newly unofficial election result that even marred by massive fraud has indicated that the promising of true democracy is not far away from sights when the people have apprehended to the roots of the problems and determined to solve them together.

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