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Veteran Politicians Denounce Election Laws on Armed Forces Day

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Leaders of Burma's independence struggle send a letter to the head of the country's ruling junta on Armed Forces Day to demand changes to new election laws.
Former leaders of Burma's independence struggle sent a letter today to Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the head of the country's ruling junta, to demand a review of the 2008 Constitution and changes to new election laws.

"In our statement, we demanded that the army's top leader review and amend the 2008 Constitution and  the election laws,” said Thakin Chan Tun, one of five veteran politicians who signed the letter, speaking to The Irrawaddy after a ceremony held today to mark Armed Forces Day.

The ceremony, held in the home of one of the senior politicians, was attended by around 200 guests, including members of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

At a separate gathering at the NLD's headquarters in Rangoon, the party's vice-chairman, Tin Oo, used the occasion to call on China to stand by Burma's oppressed opposition parties.

Recalling a trip to China he made as Burma's army chief in the 1970s, Tin Oo said that Chairman Mao Zedong, the leader of the country's Communist Party, said that China had risen up against oppression, so other countries should do the same.

"He [Tin Oo] was calling on China's current leaders to show their sympathy for the NLD, which is now trying to stand up against oppression,” said Win Tin, another senior NLD leader who attended the ceremony.

Around 300 people, including NLD members, veteran politicians, ethnic representatives and diplomats, attended the gathering.

Recently, China's ambassador to the UN, Li Baodong, told at a session of the UN Security Council that China would not censure the Burmese junta's handling of the upcoming election, saying that it would not interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state.

Critics of the Burmese regime, however, have denounced election laws promulgated earlier this month that bar NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi from taking part and also require her party to expel her if it wishes to contest the election.

Asked about recent statements by Suu Kyi, who has spoken out against registering the NLD to take part in the election, Thakin Chan Tun said: “She just expressed her political belief. I think people who  admire Daw Suu will follow her way.”


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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