Suu Kyi officially barred from Myanmar election

YANGON: Myanmar’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is officially barred from voting in November elections, according to electoral rolls that left her name off the list of eligible voters.

Ahead of the Nov 7 polls, the junta has enacted several laws that effectively barred the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from voting. But the arrival of electoral rolls, posted at local election commission offices, made it official.

The election will be Myanmar’s first general vote since 1990, when Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a landslide victory. The junta ignored the results of that election and has kept Suu Kyi jailed or under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years.

Critics call the upcoming polls a sham designed to cement military rule. Myanmar has been under military control since 1962.

The last time Myanmar’s citizens had a chance to cast ballots was in May 2008 for a constitutional referendum. At that time, Suu Kyi’s name did appear on electoral lists.

But new election laws were enacted in March stating that convicted persons are not eligible to vote or stand for election. These and other laws were widely viewed as being crafted to ensure Suu Kyi could not take part.

The local Election Commission office in Yangon’s Bahan township, where Suu Kyi is confined to her lakeside villa, also left off the names of Suu Kyi’s two female companions — Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma — who live with her and help take care of her home.

Suu Kyi was convicted, along with the two women who live with her, in August 2009 for violating the terms of her previous detention by briefly sheltering an American man who swam uninvited to her lakeside home. She is currently serving an 18-month term of house arrest that will expire Nov 13, six days after the election.

The Election Commission said last week any citizens whose names do not appear in electoral registers and wish to vote should apply within seven days of the rolls being posted.

-AP

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