Myanmar will hold its first general election in 25 years on Sunday, a stepping-stone in its five-year process of opening up.
This statement on the election by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, was obtained by Aid to the Church in Need.
The cardinal urges the people to vote, saying that voting is a “sacred right,” and that “going to the voting booth is a pilgrimage of hope.”
Here is the statement:
My Fellow Country Men and Women, Greetings to all of you, as you wait for the pivotal moment in Myanmar history!
The nation has waited for decades. After many false dawns, my dear people, we have our first free elections. 93 parties, 5800 party candidates, 3000 independent candidates. The quest for democracy is in full flow in Myanmar today!
I applaud the sagacity of our Leaders in their vision of democracy. I congratulate the law enforcing officers for their efforts to make this election a success. Fringe elements and merchants of hatred are out in the open, trying to sully the good name of our nation. Eschewing electoral violence is a hard challenge and I am glad our Law Enforcing authorities are rising up to the challenge.
I pray for courage to the Election Commission. Its work so far has been commendable. But the last lap needs extra vigilance. Kindly make this election a transparent process ensuring free and fair voting of the poor and the marginalized. Election Commission’s conduct would be watched with deep interest by the international community. Apprehensions thrown on postal votes and embassy votes are an area of concern that I am sure the Election Commission will address with professional neutrality. People want a peaceful Election.
Voting is a sacred right.
Through voting people determine their future. Going to the voting booth is a pilgrimage of hope. Let all of us, undertake this pilgrimage. Please go to the booth. Our destiny is in the ballot box. Democracy, for the people, by the people and of the people has forged great nations’ history. Myanmar waited for this moment for ages.
Today is our date with that destiny. Together we stand or together we fall. Ballot boxes will determine our future. God has blessed this nation with treasures above the ground and below the ground. More than any treasures we have the best treasures of human fellowship, a rainbow nation of 135 tribes and major religions. We need peace today!
A fair election will bring peace and prosperity to this nation; to all of us. This pristine land in history can regain its historic glory. And to fulfill that great dream, let my country men and women, vote without fear or favour.
God bless this great nation!