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]

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

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.”

Possible exclusion

However, the new constitution may not allow Suu Kyi to take a government position as it may bar anyone married to a foreigner.
Suu Kyi’s husband, Michael Aris, a British academic, died in March 1999.

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.
In the early stages, the NLD participated in the talks, but the party 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 a hike 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