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At UN, Burmese FM Defends 'Inclusive' Election

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WASHINGTON — Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win on Tuesday assured the United Nations general assembly that the November general elections will be free and fair, even as the international community and Burmese people have labeled it a sham election.
15678684506565332“With its ample experiences and lessons learnt in holding multiparty general elections in the past, Myanmar [Burma] is confident in its ability to conduct the elections in an orderly manner,” Nyan said in his address to the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Whatever the challenges facing us, we are committed to do our best for the successful holding of the free and fair general elections for the best interest of the country and its people,” he said, as he briefed the general assembly on ongoing political developments in Burma.

“Today, Myanmar is at the critical phase of its political transformation process. The multiparty democracy general elections are all set to be held in Myanmar on Nov. 7, as the fifth step of our charted political roadmap,” he said.

A total of 37 political parties including those representing various ethnic groups will take part in the elections. More than 3,000 candidates will contest for a total of 1,171 seats in the Peoples' Parliament, the National Parliament and in State/Regional Parliaments, he said.

“Such large participation makes it crystal clear that the elections are virtually inclusive. Political parties have already started their campaign activities. The people will exercise their democratic right to elect their representatives who can serve their interest better,” the foreign minister said.

However, many UN member countries continued to express doubts about the forthcoming elections.

“Mauritius continues to be preoccupied with the fate of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi whose heroic and unbreakable determination and steadfastness to free her people from years of subjugation is praiseworthy,” said thatg country’s foreign minister, Arvin Boolell, in his address to the UN General Assembly soon after Nyan spoke.

“Depriving Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi of the right to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming general elections scheduled in November this year is considered by my delegation as the deprivation of the basic rights of the people of Myanmar to freely choose to whom they would wish to entrust the destiny of their country,” Boolell said in his remarks.

On Monday, the 14-nation “Group of Friends” on Burma formed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Burmese military junta to make the November elections inclusive, participatory and transparent and repeated its call to release all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi.

The group—which included ministers from neighbors China and India, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia as well as Britain and the United States—“clearly reiterated the need for the election process to more inclusive, participatory and transparent,” Ban said after the meeting.


Nyan_win80"Once her [Aung San Suu Kyi's] sentence expires in November, and that notion is not disputed, it is our understanding that she will have served her sentence."
—Nyan Win, the foreign minister of Burma


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