Suu Kyi thanks party for election boycott

Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has thanked her National League for Democracy (NLD) party for refusing to take part in controversial elections this year.

Suu Kyi met with lawyers Kyi Win and Nyan Win yesterday at her Rangoon house-cum-prison, primarily to discuss the next appeal against her house arrest. During the meeting, however, she expressed her gratitude for the “unity” of the party in making the decision.

“She said she greatly thanked us for the decision, and thanked all the people from township level and central executive committee members for…agreeing unanimously without protest,” Nyan Win said.

He added that they discussed the future of the party, which is now facing abolition after refusing to register for the elections.

Suu Kyi reportedly said that “careful consideration” about the coming years will be needed, while other NLD members have previously said that the party will return to its grassroots work after acknowledging that it had been an ineffective player in Burmese politics since its inception two decades ago.

The party is also launching a lawsuit to challenge the election laws, under which Suu Kyi is barred from participating and the NLD forced to expel her if it wants to play any role.

More than 100 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) lawmakers yesterday signed a petition urging the grouping to expel Burma in light of the election laws.

“With the promulgation of these apparently biased laws… the regime has forfeited its best opportunity to show willingness to engage in an inclusive process of national reconciliation,” the petition said.

Much of the international community has backed the NLD’s decision not to register, although the boycott has received mixed reactions from inside Burma. Only a handful of NLD members made public their desire to see the party run, although reportedly didn’t express this in the final vote.

The lawyers also said that a “special appeal” on Suu Kyi’s house arrest will now be lodged. Judges in February dismissed an appeal on the grounds that it wasn’t within the jurisdiction of that particular court.

Suu Kyi is due to be released in November, one month after the rumoured date of the elections. Observers had said that her imprisonment last August was a ploy to keep her detained in the run-up to elections.

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