Amid “preparations” by Myanmar's military government to hold a general election on November 7, the Supreme Court in Yangon, on Monday, reserved judgment on the final appeal by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her current phase of house arrest. The court heard final arguments in a context in which the term of house arrest is set to end in less than a month's time.

In a parallel development, Nobel Peace Prize winner Ms. Suu Kyi said “the people have the right not to vote” in the November 7 poll. However, she “has not formally called for a general boycott of the poll”, said her political associate and spokesman, Nyan Win in a telephone conversation with The Hindu from Yangon.

The junta allowed Mr. Nyan Win to visit her last Friday, nearly seven weeks after their previous meeting. Her National League for Democracy (NLD), de-recognised by the authorities at the start of the present poll-process, saw the gap between these two meetings as a deliberate ploy to keep the party in the dark about her thinking and strategy. During this period, the junta portrayed itself as being conciliatory towards her. It offered to facilitate her voting and release her about a week after the November 7 poll. The promised release was, in any case, set to coincide with the completion of her current term of house arrest.

Mr. Nyan Win said she recently wrote to the junta, emphasising she would not at all vote in this election. And, in a message to the people, she wanted them to remember that the military rulers did not allow the NLD, which triumphed in the 1990 poll, to form a civilian government. The people could, therefore, exercise their right to refuse to vote now, she suggested.

Voting is not compulsory under the rules for the November 7 poll.

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