Yangon: Myanmar`s main pro-junta party
running in the country`s first elections in two decades has
pledged to practise multi-party democracy and market-oriented
economics, state media reported on Saturday.
Htay Oo, chief of the Union Solidarity and Development
Party (USDP) which is seen as having a major advantage in the
November polls, made the claims in a 15-minute speech on state
TV and radio late last night and later printed in newspapers.
"Putting the national interest in the fore, our party
will practise the multi-party democracy system,
market-oriented economic system and independent and active
foreign policies," he was quoted as saying by the New Light of
Htay Oo, a minister in the current government, also
pledged freedom of religion and a better socio-economic status
for farmers and other workers, as well as ensuring their
rights according to the constitution.
The well-funded USDP is expected to win the
controversial election on November 7, which has been widely
criticised as a sham that will give a civilian face to
A quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for
the military, which has ruled the country since 1962, and the
USDP is the only party out of 37 in the running that is
contesting all the remaining seats.
Ahead of the polls it has merged with the Union
Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) -- a powerful
and rich pro-junta organisation with up to 27 million members.
The main rival to the USDP is the National Unity
Party, also a pro-junta group, while parties that are not
aligned to the regime have struggled to field candidates and
campaign effectively in the face of formidable hurdles.
Opposition groups had to pay a fee of 500 dollars per
candidate -- the equivalent of several months` wages for most
people -- and faced a tight timetable to register to stand.
Detained Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won the
last elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take office.
On Tuesday she filed a lawsuit against the junta for
dissolving her National League for Democracy (NLD) ahead of
this year`s polls, based on rules which prompted her party to
boycott the election.
The National Democratic Force, a breakaway party of
the NLD, will compete in the poll with 162 candidates.