Suu Kyi against her party joining polls

YANGON: Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said today she will “never accept” her party registering for elections this year because laws governing the polls are unjust, according to her lawyer.

Under rules laid down by the ruling junta, the detained democracy icon faces exclusion from her National League for Democracy if it registers for the polls, because parties with serving prisoners in their ranks will be dissolved.

Suu Kyi “says she will never accept registration under unjust law, but her personal opinion is not to give orders nor instructions to the NLD,” her lawyer Nyan Win said after visiting the Nobel peace laureate.

The NLD had previously said it would decide on March 29 whether to register for the polls, which are expected to be held in October or November.

“She asked the NLD to decide democratically,” Nyan Win said after

meeting Suu Kyi at her Yangon home, where she has spent 14 of the last 20 years in detention.

Last week NLD spokesman Khin Maung Swe told AFP that opinions among senior party members were “not black or white” after talks to discuss the recent legislation, which has sparked international outrage.

The new laws also officially annul the result of Myanmar’s last elections in 1990. The NLD won by a landslide but was never allowed by the junta to take power.

This year’s elections will be first since then and if the NLD does register, it will have to accept a controversial constitution approved in a 2008 referendum, which it has previously refused to recognise.

But Khin Maung Swe said even if the party registered, it would decide later whether to participate in the elections.

“The NLD is in deep disarray,” said David Mathieson, a Myanmar expert at Human Rights Watch.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they boycotted the whole thing because they’ve signalled that in the past,” he told AFP.

“The NLD has got to decide whether to adapt to the deeply unfair situation and try to contest in some way or take the moral high ground and continue to be excluded,” he added.

Suu Kyi has already called on Myanmar citizens to respond to the registration law, which was slammed by the international community including the United States, which said it made a “mockery” of democracy.

UN special envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana has also upped pressure on the junta with a pre-election call for an investigation into whether the regime is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which Myanmar has angrily rejected. He also renewed a call for Myanmar to release more than 2,100 political prisoners.