Friday, August 13, 2010

Myanmar plans election for Nov. 7 but bars pro-democracy leader

Do the military rulers of Myanmar, the southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma, really think the rest of the world thinks they have created a democracy? That's apparently the purpose of Friday's Myanmar National Radio announcement Friday that the country will hold general elections on Nov. 7 despite refusing to allow leading democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kui to participate. Suu Kui has been under house arrest for more than 14 of the past 20 years since her party won a landslide victory in the 1990 election that the ruling junta refused to recognize. "There is no illusion about freedom and fairness in this election," Aung Zaw, the Thailand-based editor of The Irrawaddy magazine told Cable News Network (CNN). Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962, CNN said. Suu Kui's party, the National League for Democracy, decided not to compete in this year's election after she was barred from running for office. "Everything is just so convenient for the regime since the NLD is out, Suu Kyi is not running," Aung Zaw told CNN. "Plus USDP (Union Solidarity and Development Party, the government-backed party) is the largest, strongest party in this country. There is no way any other political parties could compete with them." Members of NLD who formed another party, National Democratic Force, have been allowed to meet but have not been permitted to campaign, CNN said.

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