Burma: Military junta challenges opposition to contest elections

Rangoon, 7 July (AKI) - Burma's military government has challenged the opposition led by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to contest the 2010 general elections.

In an article published in the pro-government English language daily, New Light of Myanmar , the military junta also told Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party to forget the results of the "illegal" elections in 1990 in which the NLD won a landslide victory.

The article in the newspaper was entitled "Goodbye 1990 Election Results".

In 1990, the NLD obtained 82 percent of the parliamentary seats in the first free legislative elections to be held in Burma since the military coup in 1962.

The election results were never recognised by the Burmese authorities, who banned the NLD and various other parties and also cracked down on the activists involved in the opposition movement against the junta.

"Lawfully, the results of the 1990 election cannot vanish," said Thein Nyunt, an NLD spokesperson.

"Politically, it [the results] reflected the will of the Burmese people. It insults the will of the people to say the result is illegal.”

The article in the state-backed newspaper also said that the results of the May referendum on a new constitution showed a clear desire on the part of the Burmese people to create "a new, modern and developed democratic nation."

The Burmese government said that more than 92 percent of the people who voted in the May referendum approved of the constitution that they had labelled "a roadmap to democracy".

The NLD does not recognise the results of the referendum and Western governments have criticised it saying that it was "fatally flawed" after being held so close after the country was hit by Cyclone Nargis. More than 138,000 people were either killed or declared missing after the cyclone.

Before the plebiscite, the military said that voicing opposition to the vote or the draft constitution was illegal.


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