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Myanmar Junta Sets Election Date (Aung San Suu Kyi barred from running)

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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-13-10 05:25 AM
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Myanmar Junta Sets Election Date (Aung San Suu Kyi barred from running)
Edited on Fri Aug-13-10 05:43 AM by Turborama
Source: NYT

BANGKOK Myanmar will hold its first election in two decades on Nov. 7, the ruling junta announced on Friday, setting a date for a vote that is seen as a means of legitimizing military power within the format of civilian rule.

The main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, headed by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, won the last election in 1990 by an overwhelming margin but was denied its seats by the military, which has held power for the past half century. The party is boycotting the election this year, saying the electoral rules are unfair and restrictive. It was officially disbanded in May because it refused to register for the campaign.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi herself, a Nobel Peace laureate who has spent most of the last 20 years under house arrest, is legally barred from running in the election because she is in government detention. The election is scheduled to take place shortly before the expiry of her latest term of house arrest. In any case, the fact that her late husband was a foreigner also prohibits her from running.

Other prisoners, including an estimated 2,000 political prisoners, are also barred from taking part.

The timing of the election gives parties only a short time to recruit candidates and mount campaigns in what one Burmese exile commentator, Win Tin, called a calculated political ambush.

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