Yangon: Myanmar’s President Thein Sein has posted a chilling Facebook warning of bloodshed if his ruling military-backed party loses power in watershed elections on Sunday.
The four-minute video warns of chaos like that which erupted in the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has released a video warning of violence if his party loses power.
Backed by a heavy metal soundtrack, the video juxtaposes scenes of recent violence in the Middle East with shots of seeming tranquillity and development in Myanmar since 2011, when the reclusive nation began to let the world in after six decades of brutal military rule.
It ends with the words: “Only when peace prevails will democratisation be implemented.”
A spokesman for the President’s office said the video “was about the transformation of Myanmar into a democratic country”.
Mr Thein Sein’s Union Solidarity and Development Party is facing its first election in 25 years that is being contested by the country’s main opposition party led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
Ms Suu Kyi, 70, has repeatedly urged voters at campaign rallies to be brave and stand up to potential violence.
“We will try to win the election in the right way. Don’t stray from the right way because of the rumours and dirty provocations,” she told tens of thousands of supporters in Yangon.
“It is time to compete against the negative will of some people with our strong spirit,” she said.
A two-month campaign has been largely free of violence across Myanmar. But analysts and diplomats in Yangon worry that violence could erupt on election day and in the days following as results become known and parties negotiate power-sharing arrangements.
“Tensions are running high,” a long-time Australian resident of Yangon said.
There are no reliable opinion polls in Myanmar, but Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy appears to have mass support in non-ethnic constituencies. The party will need to win at least 67 per cent of the vote to be able to seize control of Parliament, because a quarter of seats are reserved for the military.
“You might call me greedy, but we want 100 per cent of the votes,” Ms Suu Kyi told supporters.
“Because if we get 100 per cent, we get just 75 per cent of the seats,” she said.
Officials of the Union Solidarity and Development party say they are confident of retaining power with the backing of the military and a movement of ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks called Ma Ba Tha, which has been fuelling anti-Muslim sentiments in the Buddhist-majority country.
Mr Thein Sein, 70, a former general, has promised to allow a transfer of power if the NLD wins control of Parliament.
In 1990, the NLD won an election against the then military regime in a landslide. But the military refused to accept the result and kept Ms Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 years.
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Source: Fairfax Media