Suu Kyi’s party ‘in crisis’

New laws that force the expulsion of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from her party if it is to run for office this year have placed the party “in a crisis”, its spokesperson said today.

Under the Political Party Registration Law, announced yesterday, Suu Kyi is barred from participating in elections in Burma this year due to the time she has spent under house arrest.

National League for Democracy (NLD) party spokesperson, Nyan Win, said that her possible expulsion and its subsequent inference that the opposition recognises the controversial 2008 constitution were huge dilemmas for the party.

He said that the party would call for a meeting next week between its Central Executive Committee (CEC) and Suu Kyi “to overcome this crisis”.

“For now, we will propose to the authorities for a meeting between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the CEC to decide on the matter,” he said. “I think we will find an answer if we can meet.”

He added that the law barring political prisoners from running “was deliberately included…to fend off people like Suu Kyi and imprisoned political activists from taking part in the elections”.

Nyan Win had said yesterday that he was “extremely surprised” by the law. “I did not think it would be so bad”.

As the new laws began to trickle out this week, criticism against the Burmese junta was ratcheted up by Western policy makers who have long warned that the elections may not be legitimate.

US state department spokesperson Phillip Crowley told AFP yesterday that “the law makes a mockery of the democratic process and ensures the upcoming election will be devoid of credibility”.

“We are deeply disappointed with the political party law which excludes all of Burma’s 2,000 political prisoners from political participation,” Crowley said. “This is step in the wrong direction.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s ambassador in Rangoon said that it was regrettable that the laws were not based on diverse political opinion, but instead orchestrated entirely by the military government.

The NLD has until the middle of May to announce whether it will compete in polling. No date has been set for elections, although they are rumoured to be in October.

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