White House and State Department Issue Statements on Burma's Elections

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
November 8, 2010
A Street Near a Polling Station in Burma

The White House released a statement yesterday on Burma's November 7 elections, saying, "The November 7 elections in Burma were neither free nor fair, and failed to meet any of the internationally accepted standards associated with legitimate elections. The elections were based on a fundamentally flawed process and demonstrated the regime's continued preference for repression and restriction over inclusion and transparency."

Secretary Clinton echoed the sentiment in her statement, saying, "The United States is deeply disappointed by today's elections in Burma. The generals who have ruled the country for the past 22 years missed an opportunity to begin genuine transition toward democratic governance and national reconciliation.

"The electoral process was severely flawed, precluded an inclusive, level playing field, and repressed fundamental freedoms. As a result, the elections were neither free nor fair. We were concerned by the regime's refusal to allow international journalists and election observers to monitor or cover the voting. Reports of intentional Internet slowdowns, voter intimidation, and fraudulent 'advance voting' schemes were also very troubling."

Both statements called on Burma's government to release Aung San Suu Kyi, to end systematic violations of human rights and hold violators accountable, and to pursue dialogue toward national reconciliation. "Only genuine, inclusive dialogue," President Obama's statement read, "can place Burma on the path to a truly representative democracy which upholds human rights and builds a better future for its citizens."

Secretary Clinton's statement concluded, "The United States is committed to helping the Burmese people through increased humanitarian assistance that targets those in desperate need and builds local capacity. Burma's leaders must come to realize -- after five decades of sustained internal conflict, economic mismanagement, and international pariah status -- that Burma needs a better way forward, a way that does not rely on suppression but rather strives to create a truly democratic and prosperous future for the Burmese people."

The full text of the White House's statement is here; the text issued by the Department of State is here.


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