Suu Kyi party members meet

YANGON – MEMBERS of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party came from across Myanmar on Monday to discuss elections planned for next year by the ruling junta, a spokesman said.
Around 100 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) gathered at party headquarters in Myanmar’s largest city ahead of a full meeting starting on Tuesday, said spokesman Nyan Win.

The detained Nobel Peace Laureate’s party has not yet said whether it will take part in the general elections – which critics say are a sham aimed at entrenching the power of Myanmar’s military government.

‘About 100 party members have come to headquarters. We invited organisers from states and divisions (around the country). Now we will prepare for tomorrow’s meeting,’ Mr Nyan Win told AFP.

‘We will discuss about the coming elections. We cannot say whether we will make decisions, it will be known after the discussions,’ he added.

He said the meeting of party members from around Myanmar was usually an annual event, but did not take place last year.

The NLD won a landslide victory in the country’s last elections in 1990 but the ruling generals refused to let the party take office.

The military has announced the polls next year under its so-called ‘roadmap to democracy’. Diplomats say the junta may be aiming for a date in March 2010.

The polls are set to be held under a new constitution that was approved in May last year, days after Cyclone Nargis devastated southern regions of the country and left 138,000 people dead or missing.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962 and is under tough sanctions imposed by the US and European countries because of its human rights records and continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi. — AFP

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