Myanmar junta rules out Suu Kyi’s participation in polls

March 8th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by admin  

Yangon, March 8 (DPA) Myanmar’s ruling junta informed visiting UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari that they would not amend the draft constitution to allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to contest the 2010 polls, media reports said Saturday. The military regime Friday turned down a request by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon that the regime amend the new constitution to “ensure inclusiveness”, Information Minister Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan told Gambari in a long lecture that was printed in all state-controlled media Saturday.

“The constitution has already been drafted and it should not be amended again,” Kyaw Hsan said.

In a letter dated Feb 19 to Myanmar’s military supremo Senior General Than Shwe, the UN secretary general called for an amendment to the current draft constitution that would drop a clause excluding all Myanmar nationals married to foreigners from running for election.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace prize laureate who has been under house arrest since May, 2003, was married to the late Michael Aris, a British professor at Oxford University.

The new constitution, drafted by a military-appointed forum, will be voted on in a referendum in May, this year.

It is widely expected that the constitution will be approved by the referendum, which is expected to be manipulated.

The referendum is part of the regime’s so-called “seven-step road map” to democracy that would culminate in a general election now scheduled for 2010.

Critics have faulted the constitution-drafting process for failing to include input from the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Suu Kyi and other opponents to the regime, leading the UN to call the document a “sham”.

Kyaw Hsan faulted the UN for being biased against the regime, which only last September cracked down on anti-military protests led by Buddhist monks, leaving at least 31 people led.

He criticized Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years, for turning down the regime’s request that she openly oppose western sanctions on Myanmar as a precondition for holding talks with her.

“Although we have opened the door for ‘win-win’ situation, NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi are refusing to join hands,” Kyaw Hsan said.

He urged the visiting envoy to support the junta’s “seven step” road map and stop pursuing alternatives suggested by western democracies.

Gambari reportedly promised to convey the minister’s “clarification” to the UN the Secretary-General.

The UN envoy, who arrived in Yangon Thursday, was scheduled to meet with NLD members Saturday morning. It is anticipated that he would hold talks with Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in her Yangon home for almost four years.

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