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Burma’s political heavyweights met in Naypyidaw on Wednesday for the latest summit in a stop-start series of political reform talks. President Thein Sein, military officials, parliamentary representatives, ministers, leader of the opposition Aung San Suu Kyi and other party leaders discussed issues around the peace process, the upcoming elections and ensuring peaceful power transfer to a winning party in the election.
DVB interviewed the National Democratic Force party’s leader Khin Maung Swe to find out what was discussed regarding the elections.
Q: What was discussed about the upcoming elections in the 48-way talks with the president today?
A: The Union Election Commission (UEC) chairman [Tin Aye] said the commission will keep parties informed ahead of the elections, and that parties will be allowed two months to campaign. He also pledged to ensure free and fair elections, and to allow observers. Methods to ensure fairness were discussed, for example not allowing citizens without householder registrations being to vote, amongst others. The UEC chairman promised to ensure the polls are as fair as possible.
Q: Are you satisfied with the discussion today?
A: He made those promises in the capacity of UEC chairman – but whether the polls will be actually fair or not will only be discovered in the elections. We can’t take everything for granted just because he said so. No elections in any country can be one 100 percent free and fair.
Q: Was there any discussion about post-election issues?
A: The discussion did not go that fair. There was no talk about that.
Q: How much time was each party given to raise points in the meeting?
A: It didn’t go party by party. At first, 11 participants in the meeting spoke, beginning with U Shwe Mann. Some of them took a long time, and some just a few minutes with their discussion. Some took around 10-11 minutes. And the rest – from the 12th to 48th attendee, including ethnic affairs ministers, didn’t get took that much time. Some of them didn’t raise any opinions. The meeting started at 3pm and ended at 6pm.
Q: What did the president say in the meeting?
A: He told the ministries to implement measures appropriately as necessary. He said the sexpartite dialogue will be facilitated.