Monday, July 27, 2009

Suu Kyi warns junta on 2010 elections

(DVB)–Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has again warned the ruling junta in Burma that without national reconciliation prior to next year, the 2010 elections would be futile.

The government has penciled in March next year for the first general elections since Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in 1990 that was never honoured.

The opposition leader was speaking to her lawyer Nyan Win on Friday during what should have been the final day of her trial.

“Daw Suu said the upcoming elections in 2010 would not be credited as legitimate unless national reconciliation has been carried out before that,” said Nyan Win, adding that she had urged the United Nations to warn the junta about the necessity of reconciliation.

Today is expected to be the final day of Suu Kyi’s trial, which was delayed on Friday by the prosecution team failing to testify.

Critics claim the trial is a ploy to keep her in detention beyond the 2010 elections, although Burma’s revised constitution which was ratified two weeks after cyclone Nargis last May bars her from running for office.

Earlier this month the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Burma in an attempt to kick start dialogue between the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and opposition groups, as well as push for the release of Suu Kyi.

Nyan Win said that Suu Kyi’s comments reflected the general feeling within the party, and this had been stressed to Ban Ki-moon during his visit.

Prosecution lawyers are today expected to give their final statements in the trial in which Suu Kyi has been charged with breaching conditions of her house arrest.

It is unclear when a verdict is likely to be given. If, as is widely expected, Suu Kyi is found guilty, she could face a sentence of up to five years.

A number of delegates attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum last week independently called for her release, while a joint communiqué issued following the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting said her release was a necessary prerequisite for free and fair elections next year.

Reporting by Thurein Soe

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