Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) on Monday decided “not to participate” in the general election promised by Myanmar's military rulers. The party did not, however, call for a total boycott.
With Ms. Suu Kyi still under house arrest, the NLD will “not apply for re-registration” under the junta's new decrees for the polls set for an unspecified date this year.
These decrees have already sparked adverse reactions in several international circles. And, the NLD, which won a landslide in Myanmar's last general election 20 years ago, was not allowed by the military authorities to form a civilian government then.
Briefing The Hindu over the telephone from Yangon on Monday, octogenarian leader Tin Oo, who chaired the NLD meeting, said the party would continue to uphold the “democratic spirit [through] strategic non-violence”.
In another phone-in conversation, NLD spokesman Nyan Win said the party's move to stay away from the promised poll process was unanimous, with “no objections” raised by any of the 113 panel members . No advisory was issued on how the party followers should conduct themselves during the poll process.
Asked whether the NLD now stood in danger of being de-recognised, Mr. Nyan Win said “it is their problem.”
Ms. Suu Kyi sent a special message to the NLD panel through Mr. Nyan Win, even while leaving it free to decide. She said the 2008 Constitution, which would apply to the promised polls, was unacceptable and the latest poll decrees were unfair. She would, in these circumstances, continue to strive for democracy and human rights. And, any move by the junta to de-recognise the NLD would not spell its destruction, she emphasised.
A critical aspect of the poll decrees is that no party with a “convict” as a leader or member would be recognised. And, Ms. Suu Kyi, now serving a modified sentence, was “convicted” for an alleged violation of the conditions of her previous term of house arrest.