Suu Kyi wants party to boycott Burma election

Detained opposition leader says junta's poll restrictions are unjust

Burma's detained opposition leader has indicated that she believes her party should boycott a controversial poll planned for later this year – further undermining the credibility of what many believe is a "sham" election.

Aung San Suu Kyi told her lawyer she believed the National League for Democracy (NLD) should not register because a series of restrictions – including the demand that she be ousted from her party – were unjust. "Personally, I would not even think of registering [the party] under these unjust laws," Ms Suu Kyi said, according to her lawyer, Nyan Win, who met her yesterday at the crumbling house in Rangoon where she is under house arrest. "I am not instructing the party or the people. They are free to make their decisions democratically."

The military junta that controls Burma, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), claims that an election planned for later this year will help to move the country towards democracy. Many independent observers believe the election will simply further cement the military within the establishment of the country.

Earlier this month, the junta issued guidelines for the election that made clear that the 64-year-old Nobel laureate would not be permitted to contest the vote because she is under house arrest. The guidelines appeared to suggest that the NLD would have to expel her if it wanted to take part. The party has called a meeting of its senior members for next Monday when it will announce its decision. The statement by Ms Suu Kyi will be hugely influential.

Derek Tonkin, a former British ambassador in South-east Asia and head of the Myanmar Network, said that if the NLD voted not to participate, those members wishing to take part would have to leave and form a different party. "[If the NLD does not participate] it will make it much harder for the junta to sell the election to the West," he added. The last democratic election in Burma was held in 1990 and the NLD won by a landslide. The junta refused to accept the result and embarked on a fresh round of political repression, jailing hundreds of its opponents.

Ms Suu Kyi has spent 14 of the last 20 years in jail or under house arrest, the term of which was extended last year after she was convicted of breaching the conditions of her detention when an uninvited American visitor swam across a nearby lake to her home. Most independent observers believe the charges against her were brought simply to keep her out of the way until the conclusion of the election, which many expect to be held in October.

The statement by the NLD leader, who had not previously indicated whether she believed her party should participate, came as her lawyers sought to overturn regulations banning her from taking part. Her legal team tried to file a petition with the country's Supreme Court to challenge the election regulations announced earlier this month. The court refused to accept the petition, saying it was not qualified to hear the case.

David Mathieson, a Burma expert at Human Rights Watch, told Agence France-Presse: "The NLD has got to decide whether to adapt to the deeply unfair situation and try to contest in some way or take the moral high ground and continue to be excluded."

The UN's special envoy, Tomas Ojea Quintana, recently called for an inquiry into whether the regime was guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, something the authorities angrily rejected. He also renewed calls for the junta to release more than 2,100 political prisoners, including Ms Suu Kyi, ahead of the polls.

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
News
peopleEnglishman managed the quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape