The party of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, will decide by the end of this month whether to officially register, the first step toward taking part in the upcoming election, a party spokesman said on Monday.
The polls will be the first since 1990, when Ms. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a landslide victory. The junta ignored the results of that vote and has kept the Nobel Peace laureate jailed or under detention for 14 of the past 20 years. No date has been set for the new election.
Existing political parties have until May 6 under recently enacted electoral laws to register or face dissolution. The government currently recognizes 10 parties, including Ms. Suu Kyi’s.
National League for Democracy spokesman Khin Maung Swe, said party executives will meet on March 29 to make the decision and discuss recently enacted electoral laws covering the upcoming polls.
Deciding to register the party is almost tantamount to deciding to take part in the polls. According to the law, parties that do not field candidates in at least three constituencies will be abolished.
One of the new electoral laws will prevent Ms. Suu Kyi from running in the elections and force her out of the party she helped found because she was convicted of violating her house arrest when an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside property.
Ms. Suu Kyi is currently serving an 18—month term of house arrest and many top members of her parties and ethnic—based parties are serving prison sentences.
This year’s planned elections are part of the junta’s long—announced “roadmap to democracy,” which critics deride as a sham designed to cement the military’s power. A military—backed constitution was approved by a national referendum last May, but the opposition charges that the vote was unfair.
The United States and human rights groups have warned that the junta is running out of chances to make the elections appear credible. Clauses in the constitution already ensure that the military will retain a controlling say in government and bar Ms. Suu Kyi from holding office.