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Suu Kyi does not want her party to register for polls

March 23, 2010

Myanmar's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday she did not want her National League for Democracy party to partake in the elections that are due later this year.

Suu Kyi's house arrest was extended by 18 months last August
Suu Kyi's house arrest was extended by 18 months last AugustImage: AP

According to Suu Kyi's lawyer Nyan Win, who is also the spokesperson of National League for Democracy (NLD) party, she told him that she "would not even think of registering under the unjust laws". But Nyan Win added that she had also said she wanted the party to decide on her own.

The junta recently announced new elections laws, which have been very controversial. One of them bars people who are currently serving prison terms from being members of political parties.

It therefore stops Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest, from being a member of her own party, let alone allowing her to vote and herself run for election. The Nobel laureate has already spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention.

Lawsuit against election laws

The NLD party recently challenged the new election laws in the Supreme Court, claiming they were unlawful but the suit was rejected on Tuesday.

Senior NLD leaders such as Win Tin have to decide whether their party will register
Senior NLD leaders such as Win Tin have to decide whether their party will registerImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

The court said it did not have the powers to handle such a case, according to Suu Kyi's lawyer Nyan Win.

Political parties in Myanmar (also known as Burma) have fewer than 60 days to register for the polls. The NLD has so far not decided whether it will participate. The party members plan to meet on Friday to discuss the issue.

The junta has not yet announced a date for the elections but it is widely expected that they will take place in October this year.

The last general elections in the military-run country took place in 1990. The opposition NLD won them by a landslide but the junta never recognized the results.

International criticism

The new election laws have also drawn criticism from outside Myanmar. Britain, among others, has asked the United Nations to call an emergency meeting to discuss the terms of the polls set by the junta in Myanmar.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's so-called "Group of Friends" on Myanmar is expected to meet on March 25 to discuss the situation in the military-ruled country.

The group includes the United States, Britain, France, China, Japan, Australia, Norway, Russia, Singapore and Thailand.

Editor: Anne Thomas