Suu Kyi party to boycott Myanmar elections

YANGON: Myanmar’s opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi today said it would boycott polls expected later this year, after the country’s military rulers introduced a controversial new election law.

The National League For Democracy decided at a party meeting to refuse to register

for the first polls to be held in two decades, a move that would have forced it to oust its detained leader and recognise the junta’s constitution.

But the NLD now faces

dissolution in less than six weeks for failing to register, according

to the new legislation brought in earlier this month for the elections due to be held by the end of November.

“The National League for Democracy has decided not to register the party,” party spokesman Nyan Win said after a meeting of more than 100 senior members at NLD headquarters in the economic hub Yangon.

Under the internationally-criticised election legislation, if

the party had decided to sign up for the vote it would have been forced to part with Suu Kyi because she is serving a prison term.

The vote is part of the government’s seven-step “Roadmap

to Democracy”, which also includes a controversial new constitution agreed in a 2008 referendum held days after a cyclone ravaged the country.

Mynmar’s election legislation nullifies the result of the last polls held in 1990 that were won by the NLD by a landslide but never recognised by the junta.

If the party had registered it would have been forced to recognise that decision.

Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi, who has spent 14 of the past

20 years in detention, said last week she would “never accept” her party registering because the laws are “unjust”.

But she said the party should decide “democratically”, according to Nyan Win, who is also Suu Kyi’s lawyer.

Ahead of the party decision, Nyan Win had signalled his personal opposition to signing up for the vote.

“If we register, it would mean the NLD is doing everything

the junta asks it to do. The NLD is working for free democracy.

So we cannot accept what the government is asking,” Nyan Win added.

Myanmar political analyst and pro-democracy activist Win Min said the party — which Suu Kyi helped found in 1988 after a popular uprising against the military government — would now essentially disappear.