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.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker