Riz Khan
Riz Khan: Myanmar's elections
What impact will boycotts and threats from ethnic minority groups have on the vote in the military-led country?
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2010 20:19 GMT

What is the real purpose of the so-called democratic elections in Myanmar? Its military leaders say the vote - the first in 20 years - will usher in a genuine, multi-party democracy for its estimated 50 million citizens.

Western critics have dismissed the elections, characterising them as a political non-event and a ploy for the military junta to continue its reign through a civilian facade. 


Send us your views and get your voice on the air

Some of Myanmar's ethnic minority groups are boycotting the vote, while the militias representing them are gearing up for potential confrontation with the military.

So far the government has cancelled voting in villages where ethnic minorities are dominant, leaving at least 1.5 million people unable to participate.

On Wednesday's Riz Khan, we ask: What was behind the junta's decision to hold elections, and what will it take to achieve reconciliation with the country's ethnic minority groups?

Riz speaks to Thaung Htun, the Burmese government in exile's UN representative; Min Zin, an exiled Burmese journalist; and David Williams, a professor at the Indiana University's School of Law, who has served as a constitutional reform adviser to some of Myanmar's ethnic minority groups.

This episode of Riz Khan aired from Wednesday, November 3, 2010.

Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.