Myanmar Bars Pro-Democracy Leader Suu Kyi From Elections

11/03/2010 12:03

Aung San Suu Kyi, a jailed Mayanmar's pro-democracy leader will not be allowed to participate in Myanmar's next elections after the military junta ruled that anyone convicted of a crime cannot become a member of a political party.

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been barred from participating in Myanmar's election scheduled to take place sometime this year.

Myanmar's ruling military junta says a new election law prohibits anyone convicted of a crime to become a member of a political party. This ruling effectively bans Suu Kyi from participating in the upcoming elections.

Suu Kyi has been convicted last August by Myanmar's ruling military junta of violating the terms of her house arrest when an uninvited retired American soldier swam into her lakeside residence.

For this offense, she was sentenced by the junta to serve additional 18 months in detention. Suu Kyi is the leader of the National League for Democracy, a pro-democracy party that won in the national elections held some 20 years ago.

Suu Kyi, being the leader of the party was poised to become the country's Prime Minister on account of her party's victory but the military junta did allow her to rule and instead sent her to jail. She has served 14 of her 20 years in captivity. For leading the country towards the path of democracy, Suu Kyi has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize but the ruling junta did not allow her to receive the award.

The United States and Britain expressed disappointment and regret at the junta's move. Analysts called it a clear slap in the face for the international community, which has repeatedly said the elections would not be legitimate if Suu Kyi, 64, is barred from running.

"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.

Some member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have repeatedly warned Myanmar of expulsion from ASEAN for not allowing Suu Kyi to participate in the elections and for her continued detention despite diplomatic efforts from leaders of western countries.

Despite diplomatic efforts in securing the release of the pro-democracy leader, Myanmar's ruling junta seems to ignore the call of the country's neighbors for a humane approach in the treatment of political prisoners.


(original article appeared @ Digital Journal )

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