Burma’s first free and fair
parliamentary elections since 1990, the democratic opposition defeated the
civilian transition government that was backed by the former military junta,
which had ruled for the last five years since the last elections were boycotted
by the opposition for lack of freedom.
Unlike in 1990, however, the ruling party has conceded the results. Although the military is constitutionally guaranteed a large segment of seats in the Burmese Parliament, the dictatorial military junta will not rule
or indirectly, for the first time since 1962.
The ruling party it supports, which won only a minority of seats, will be
in the opposition. The concession of the
election results by the ruling party sets up a transition toward representative
government. The Parliament will nominate
three candidates for President; the two unsuccessful nominees will become vice
presidents. Although beloved opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party had won the nullified 1990 elections, is
prohibited by law from serving as President, she will
nevertheless exercise leadership over her party and country. Much international pressure had been exerted
on the Burmese dictatorship over the last several years to loosen its grip on
power and allow basic freedoms and fair elections.
I congratulate the people of
Burma and wish
them success in enjoying the fruits of liberty.
May they govern themselves, including all of the minorities who dwell
within Burmese borders, well and peacefully. May Burma
serve as an example of how international economic sanctions and moral suasion
can liberate people in even the lands where they have been repressed the longest.