September 21, 2010Print : World
YANGON: Myanmar’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not be allowed to vote in the military-ruled country’s first election in two decades, officials said on Monday.
“Aung San Suu Kyi’s name does not appear on the voting list,” said an official in Bahan Township where the Nobel Peace laureate lives under house arrest in her lakeside mansion.
Her exclusion was expected because under Myanmar’s 2008 constitution serving prisoners have no right to vote.
Suu Kyi “will not have the right to vote as she’s under detention,” said another official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity.
Nobel Peace Laureate Suu Kyi has spent most of the past 20 years in detention, and as a serving prisoner is also barred from standing as a parliamentary candidate. Her incarceration was lengthened by 18 months in August last year for breaching the terms of her detention after an American man swam to her home.
Two female aides living with Suu Kyi who were convicted over the incident are also barred from voting.
The opposition leader’s current term of detention is due to expire just days after the November election.
The democracy icon’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in 1990 but the junta never allowed it to take office.
The party announced it was boycotting the upcoming polls, saying the rules were unfair, and has subsequently been disbanded by the ruling generals.
The National Democratic Force, a breakaway opposition party created by ex-NLD members, is among those planning to contest the vote, a decision which put it at odds with Suu Kyi, who was in favour of the NLD boycotting the vote.
Myanmar state media warned the NLD on Saturday to drop complaints against its abolition, and threatened jail for anyone impeding the November vote.
Authorities have detained about 11 youths for questioning after they tried to distribute leaflets encouraging a boycott of the election, although they are expected to be released soon, an official said Monday. The election has been widely condemned by activists and the West as a charade aimed at putting a civilian face on military rule. Opposition parties have faced formidable hurdles, including a fee of 500 dollars per candidate. A quarter of seats in parliament are reserved for the military whatever the outcome.