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Hawking a new avatar
This is rich. Just months before the scheduled elections in Myanmar, the ruling junta has decided to hang up its (military) boots. In a makeover that is fooling few, Prime Minister Thein Sein and many of his ministers have resigned from their military posts this week. It's not because they have had a change of heart regarding the military regime but it is to set the stage for their participation in the the country's upcoming elections. The country's supremo, Senior General Than Shwe has promised elections and a transition to democracy but recent developments have inspired little confidence in the people of Myanmar and the international community about the junta's commitment to loosening the iron grip with which it has ruled the country since 1962. Recently, the junta revised laws governing elections in the country, which ensured that Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was banned from contesting the polls. The pro-democracy leader cannot contest because according to the new laws, anyone who has been convicted of a crime cannot run for political office. The upcoming polls will be the first since 1990, when Suu Kyi won by an overwhelming majority. But the junta did not recognise her party's victory and has kept the iconic leader under house arrest for one reason or the other for 14 years.
Come May 6, Britons will be queuing up at polling stations to cast their votes for a new government. This election is turning out to be one of the most exciting ones with the emergence of the Lib Dems — led by the charismatic Nick Clegg — as a force to reckon with. Till as of last month, it appeared that, as always, the race was going to be a two-party affair, with the Tories holding the edge over incumbent Labour. But, one television debate pitting David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg against each other changed all that. Clegg did a star turn and suddenly, a jaded campaign season sprung to life. How much will he hurt the chances of the two old warhorses? We'll soon know.
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