Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Key nations to meet on Myanmar election

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited key nations to a meeting Thursday to discuss the new electoral laws for Myanmar’s upcoming election that bar detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Ban believes it is an appropriate time for another meeting of the Group of Friends of Myanmar focusing on the election.

The group includes about 15 countries -- Myanmar’s neighbours, interested Asian and European nations, and the five permanent UN Security Council members, the US, Russia, China, Britain and France.

Suu Kyi’s lawyer said earlier yesterday in the capital Yangon that she is against registering her National League for Democracy party for the elections because the ruling junta’s restrictions on the vote are “unjust“.

Suu Kyi’s comments came hours after Myanmar’s highest court refused to accept a lawsuit filed by Suu Kyi’s party seeking to revoke the five election laws, which were enacted earlier this month.

The laws set out rules for the vote, but have been widely criticised as designed to keep Suu Kyi out of the race. One law prohibits anyone convicted of a crime from being a member of a political party and instructs parties to expel convicted members or face de-registration.

Suu Kyi’s house arrest was extended last year after she was convicted on charges of violating the terms of her detention when an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside property. She is serving an additional 18-months of house arrest and many top members of her party and ethnic-based parties are in prison. Under the new laws they would be barred from the vote.

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