Myanmar’s military ruler Than Shwe on Friday pledged to hold a free and fair poll soon in accordance with the junta’s “roadmap” for political future.

Senior General Than Shwe’s commitment, with no parallel announcement of a poll date, formed the centrepiece of his message on the 63rd anniversary of Myanmar’s Union Day. A timeline for the passage of an electoral law was also not spelt out.

The poll move, however, is a sequel to the earlier assurances by the junta that a democracy-restoring general election would be held this year.

“A free and fair election will take place soon. That means: [the] national people will have the rights to elect representatives, and stand for election. So, members of parliaments, who the voters think will be capable of generating a prosperous future for the nation, will be elected by ballot,” said Sr. Gen. Than Shwe.

The objective, he emphasised, was to “build a modern, developed, discipline-flourishing democratic nation in line with the State Constitution approved with the great majority of the ballot.”

Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) has consistently rejected the junta’s claim that a new Constitution was properly endorsed in the referendum that was held when the country was still reeling under the impact of Cyclone Nargis. NLD leader and celebrated democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi is still under house arrest.

The NLD’s triumph in the previous general election two decades ago was not honoured by the military rulers.

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