New govt urged to keep promises

An alliance of political parties known as the Group of Democratic Party Friends (GDPF) yesterday urged the new government led by president Thein Sein to immediately start implementing the objectives made in his inauguration speeches.

The GDPF consists of 10 political parties, including Democratic Party Myanmar (DPM), National Democratic Force (NDF) and five ethnic parties.   On April 5 they released a statement urging the new government to implement as soon as possible the objectives mentioned by Thein Sein in his speeches on March 30 and 31 regarding politics, economy, defence sectors and a national reconciliation.

The eight-point statement signed by party leaders called for a general amnesty for political prisoners in the country and the convening of an all-inclusive union conference looking for reconciliation.

“In order to practically implement [the objectives], we call to enact a general amnesty law for all political prisoners in the country, and all those who are outside the country for their different political opinions.  And we call for the new government to organise and lead an all-inclusive union conference, with everyone involved in the over 60 year long civil armed conflict taking part, looking to find a solution to end the conflict,” said the statement.

“We would like to suggest [the new government] make this happen as early as possible, in order to show their true good will and a wish for national reconciliation.”

On March 30, the junta which has ruled Burma for past 23 years officially handed power to the new government led by Thein Sein. However, corruption by government authorities, forced-labour and land-confiscation cases continue to occur across the country a week into the new government’s rule.

DPM’s chairman Thu Wei said, to stop these abuses from happening, low-level government administrations should take the president’s remarks seriously, while parties need to be constantly reminding them.

“All government departments such as administration and judicial bodies should follow these words precisely – we wish this for the country,” said Thu Wei.

“For example, corruption is one of the issues hampering the people the most and we need to keep reminding [the new government] about this until action is taken. We just can’t depend on [the new government], we need to push, depend on and criticise them at the same time.”

He also urged the affair committees in the parliament tasked with scrutinising the president’s promises and responsibilities to push for implementation of promises.

Some GDPF members say the alliance will monitor the new government’s procedures in order to learn whether the president’s promises are truly being implemented.

The GDPF previously made a call to end international sanctions on Burma.

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