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Myanmar Refuses To Rescind Controversial Election Law

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Myanmar Refuses To Rescind Controversial Election Law

3/17/2010 12:44 PM ET

Myanmar has refused the Philippines’ call to repeal the controversial election law that denies detained Opposition pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi participation in the election, expected to be held later this year.

Myanmar’s defiance of calls by international community to rescind the controversial law was reflected Wednesday during a meeting between its Foreign Minister U Nyan Win and his Philippines counterpart Alberto Romulo on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement’s meeting on interfaith dialogue in Manila.

Talking to reporters after the closed door meeting, the Philippines Foreign Secretary said he was disappointed with the meeting because Nyan Win “didn’t talk much.”

Romulo added that when he sought explanation as to why Suu Kyi will be barred from elections, the Myanmar Foreign Minister replied that “that was the law.”

Romulo said Myanmar should live up to its commitment to institute political reforms in the country.

He said he will urge his counterparts in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to press Myanmar to repeal the law during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ summit to be held in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, on April 8.

But ASEAN has a standing policy of non-interference in each others’ internal affairs.

Nyan Win evaded questions by reporters during the Manila conference.

Myanmar’s military government published last week five long-awaited election laws it passed recently, setting the stage for polls it pledged to hold later this year.

The authorities have already made it clear that the Nobel Peace laureate will not be allowed to take part in the polls, as she was married to a British academic. The Myanmarese constitution bans anyone married to a foreign national from holding political office.

The new law tightens the clutches on Suu Kyi, preventing her from leading her own party or playing any role in election campaigning.

The U.S. government has said it will continue to hold political dialogue with Myanmar’s military junta despite “regrettable” new election laws, but vowed that sanctions would remain in place.

The State Department denounced the new laws, saying that it has made a mockery of the democratic process.

Both the United States and the United Nations have accused the country of committing a “gross and systematic violation of human rights.”

Copyright © 2010, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent of RTTNews.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

March 18, 2010 at 3:59 am

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