Washington: General elections in Myanmar, the first in nearly 20 years, were "deeply disappointing" and far from inclusive, the US State Department said.
Myanmar had general elections during the weekend in what the military junta said was a step toward a democratic government. International observers doubted the claims as the junta-supported Union Solidarity and Development Party was expected to win the weekend contest.
The National Democratic Force, the country`s largest opposition force, challenged 164 seats on the 1,159 parliament compared with 1,112 from the junta-backed party.
The US State Department said the election was troubling given the regime`s failure to allow observers into the country.
"The electoral process was severely flawed, precluded an inclusive, level playing field and repressed fundamental freedoms," the State Department said in a statement. "As a result, the elections were neither free nor fair."
The United Nations called on Myanmar to release detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest as a confidence-building measure ahead of the poll. The military junta said she may be released but not until after the election.
Jeremy Browne, the British minister for human rights, said the detained Nobel Peace Prize winner was symbolic of the political climate in Myanmar.
"If you want an example of somebody whose freedom is curtailed as a result of the policies of the regime there is no better example than her," he was quoted as saying.