Myanmar: Secretary-General voices concern at new electoral laws

10 March 2010

New electoral laws unveiled by authorities in Myanmar do not meet international expectations of what is required for an inclusive political process in the Asian country, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today.

The United Nations is carefully studying the laws as they are being published by the Government in preparation for planned national elections later this year, Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

According to media reports, the new laws relate to the registration of political parties and prohibit anyone with a criminal conviction from being a member of an official party.

“The indications available so far suggest that they do not measure up to the international community’s expectations of what is needed for an inclusive political process,” Mr. Ban said.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the Myanmar authorities to ensure such an inclusive political process leading to fair, transparent and credible elections in which all citizens of Myanmar, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, can freely participate.”

Ms. Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), a prominent opposition leader, has been under house arrest for much of the past two decades. In August last year she was sentenced to an additional 18 months of detention after being convicted of violating State security laws.

Last month Mr. Ban expressed disappointment that Ms. Suu Kyi’s appeal against her house arrest was rejected and reiterated his call for her release.

Myanmar is slated to later this year conduct its first elections in over 20 years as part of a Government-designed timetable towards greater democratization.

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