Myanmar announces vote in 2010

Opposition says it is “surprised” the ruling generals have set a date for elections.

Myanmar - Aung San Suu Kyi
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi may not be allowed to stand in the elections [GALLO/GETTY]
He accused unnamed “destructive elements” of trying “to constantly hinder and sabotage our development tasks”.
The newspaper quoted Than She as asking the public to “always remain vigilant against these elements and ward off the dangers posed by them”.
The government has yet to unveil the final version of its proposed  constitution.
The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Saturday it was “surprised” by the announcement.
Bar on Suu Kyi?
The guidelines produced by the secretive convention that drafted the text appear to bar Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president.
Myanmar timeline

1988: Military crackdown on pro-democracy protests, estimated 3,000 killed


1989: Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to house arrest for allegedly endangering the state


1990: NLD wins landslide in national election; military refuses to recognise result


1991: Suu Kyi awarded Nobel Peace Prize


1995: Suu Kyi freed, but movements restricted


1997: Myanmar admitted to Asean


2000: Suu Kyi sentenced to house arrest for defying travel restrictions


2002: Suu Kyi released following UN-facilitated secret talks with government


2003: Government unveils “road map” to democracy; Suu Kyi returned to house arrest after her convoy is attacked in north of country


2005: Government announces shift to new capital Naypidaw


2007: Nearly 3,000 prisoners released in amnesty to mark independence anniversary, but no key political figures freed

One clause bars anyone married to foreigners from standing –  Aung San Suu Kyi was married to Briton Michael Aris, who died in  1999.

Another clause requires the president to have a “military  vision” of state affairs.
The charter would also reserve one quarter of all seats in  parliament for serving officers, who would be appointed by the  commander-in-chief.

Nyan Win, spokesman for the NLD, said: “I am surprised that they set a date for an election.”

He also said that it was premature to plan for national elections when no one has seen the final version of the proposed constitution.

“We have to see the results of the referendum on the constitution. How can they know if it will be a success? It is still early to talk about an election.”

The NLD won Myanmar’s last election in 1990, but the ruling military government has never recognised the result.

In Bangkok, Thailand, a spokesman for a group of exiled MPs who fled after that vote, said that the elections would be meaningless unless Suu Kyi was freed and took part.
“Without the participation of Suu Kyi, the NLD and ethnic parties the people will not accept this constitution,” Zin Linn of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, said.

Instead, the generals insisted on drafting a new constitution and convened a so-called National Convention in 1993, which spent the next 14 years in meetings laying out the guidelines for a new charter.
Party boycott


In the early stages, the NLD participated in the talks, but it later boycotted the convention in protest at Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest, which is now entering its 12th year.

The convention finally ended on September 3, 2007, weeks after anti-government demonstrations began in Yangon, the former capital, in protest at an increase in fuel prices in mid-August.
By the end of September, the protests had turned into the  largest anti-government demonstrations in nearly 20 years.

The military responded with a deadly crackdown in which security forces  opened fire on crowds, killing at least 31 people, according to the UN.

Source: News Agencies


More from News
Most Read