Myanmar junta sets election date of Nov 7

The critics have dismissed polls as a sham designed to cement military rule.

Updated: Aug 13, 2010, 10:44 AM IST

Yangon: Myanmar`s first election in two decades will be held on November 07, the ruling junta announced on Friday, finally setting a date for long-awaited polls that critics have dismissed as a sham designed to cement military rule.

The brief announcement by the Election Commission was carried on state TV and radio.

"Multiparty general elections for the country`s Parliament will be held on Sunday on November 07," said the announcement, which called on political parties to submit candidate lists between August 16 and August 30.

Ahead of the polls, the ruling military junta has passed many laws and rules criticised as undemocratic and unfair by detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the international community.

Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy is boycotting the election. The party was officially disbanded in May because it refused to register.

Suu Kyi`s party won a landslide majority in the 1990 election, but the junta refused to honour the results.

The new election laws effectively bar Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi and other political prisoners — estimated at more than 2,000 — from taking part in the elections.

Tight rules for campaigning bar parties from chanting, marching or saying anything at rallies that could tarnish the country`s image.

Renegade members of Suu Kyi`s disbanded party have formed a new group, the National Democratic Force, to carry the party`s mantle in the vote. Suu Kyi has expressed dissatisfaction through her lawyer with the formation of the new breakaway party.

Bureau Report