Burma’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has told her lawyers that she “would not even think of registering under these unjust laws” for elections this year.
She added however that she would let the National League for Democracy (NLD) party decide for itself whether or not to participate, lawyer Nyan Win told AP.
The country’s main opposition party is yet to announce whether it will contest Burma’s first elections in 20 years. A Rangoon court today turned down an appeal to challenge controversial laws which ban Suu Kyi from running and require her expulsion from the NLD if it is to play any part in polls.
The question of whether or not to participate appears to be unsettling the party, whose landslide victory in the last elections in 1990 were ignored by the ruling junta. Today it emerged that a petition had been passed around regional offices in Burma’s southern Irrawaddy division calling for the party to boycott.
The elections have provided one of the biggest dilemmas for the party in its 22-year history. If it chooses to participate, it will both lose Suu Kyi and effectively legitimise the 2008 constitution that critics claim will cement military rule in Burma. The constitution allocates around a quarter of parliamentary seats to the military even prior to polling.
Yet if the boycott goes ahead, the NLD will be banned as a political party, potentially leaving the country without a viable or internationally-recognised opposition.
The NLD is due to officially announce its decision on 29 March.