Law bars Myanmars Aung San Suu Kyi from voting

YANGON: Not only is Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi barred from running in upcoming elections, but she will not be allowed to vote - and her opposition party’s landslide win in the last polls has been formally invalidated, according to laws published today.

Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy, condemned the latest laws, but vowed to survive.

“They have been slowly trying to decimate the party and now they are doing it with utmost force. But the NLD will never collapse,” said the party’s deputy chairman, Tin Oo.

The date for the election has not yet been announced. It will be the first poll since 1990, when Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory.

The junta ignored the results of that vote and has kept Suu Kyi jailed or under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

The junta enacted five election-related laws Monday that set out the rules for the next polls. So far, it has made four of the laws public - two of which were unveiled Thursday and pertain to the election of candidates to parliament.

Also today, the junta announced the makeup of the Election Commission, which will oversee the polls and be headed by a former high-ranking army officer.

Like the election laws announced earlier in the week, the latest included more provisions that

ban Suu Kyi from the political scene.

They stipulate that anyone convicted of a crime - as Suu Kyi was in August for the first time - is barred from running or voting in the elections for the upper and lower houses.

The two laws also formally invalidated the 1990 elections results, saying the 1989 election law under which those polls were held was repealed by the new legislation.

It comes as yet another blow to the NLD, which has been demanding the results be recognised for the last two decades.

An election law announced Wednesday prohibits anyone convicted of a crime from being a member of a political party, making Suu Kyi ineligible to become a candidate in the elections - or even a member of the party she co-founded and heads.

One of the strongest reactions came from the

Philippines, a partner with Myanmar in the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose members rarely voice criticism of each other.

“Unless they release Aung San Suu Kyi and allow her and her party to participate in elections, it’s a complete farce and therefore contrary to their roadmap to democracy,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo told The Associated Press.