The Irrawaddy Burma Election 2010

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Suu Kyi Says She Won't Vote in Elections

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19713-suukyiRANGOON — Detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has decided not to vote in upcoming elections, even though authorities have told her she is on the electoral roll, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Suu Kyi's lawyer, Nyan Win, said she informed him that she does not intend to vote in the Nov. 7 general elections in which her now-disbanded party has decided not to participate.

The military government dissolved her National League for Democracy party because it declined to reregister for an election it considers unfair and undemocratic. Nyan Win told reporters her position after meeting her for 2 1/2 hours at her home Tuesday.

She has previously advised followers that they have the right not to vote. The state-controlled press has criticized that position.

Suu Kyi told her lawyers that authorities informed her Sept. 24 that her name is on the electoral list and that she will be able to cast a ballot. She said that violated an election law that prohibited convicted people from voting.

According to the law, convicted people include those serving prison terms imposed by a court and those who are undergoing an appeal process, Nyan Win said.

Suu Kyi was convicted in August 2009 of violating the terms of her previous detention by briefly sheltering an American man who swam uninvited to her lakeside home. She is currently serving an 18-month term of house arrest that will expire Nov. 13, six days after the elections.

Suu Kyi "said the decision to put her on the electoral roll is against the law and this is lawlessness. She has instructed us to tell authorities that the decision was against the law," Nyan Win said.

Suu Kyi's name was not on an initial voting list, but was added to a supplementary list posted a few days later. It is not clear why it was added.
The elections will be Burma’s first since 1990, when Suu Kyi's party won a landslide victory. The junta ignored the results and has kept Suu Kyi jailed or under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years.

Critics call the upcoming polls a sham designed to cement military rule. Burma has been under military control since 1962.

Despite criticism, Burma has rejected offers of help in carrying out the elections, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Tuesday.

Abhisit said he offered his country's assistance during a visit to Burma on Monday. He met Prime Minister Thein Sein and junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

Abhisit told reporters in Bangkok he conveyed the international community's concerns. Burma’s leaders replied they were "aware of the concerns, but did not want any outside help," he said.


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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