Romulo calls farcical reported 'ban' of Suu Kyi from Myanmar politics

March 11, 2010 10:40 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, March 11 — The banning of Myanmar political leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running in upcoming elections in her country is “a complete farce and contrary to its Roadmap to Democracy” which had been endorsed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto G. Romulo said this afternoon.

Romulo was reacting to foreign news reports that Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Laureate and a symbol of democratic and human rights struggles in Yangon, had been repudiated by a election new law in her bid to resume active leadership of her National League for Democracy (NLD) Party and thus may not qualify to run in a still-undated election period.

Yangon’s State-run media this week published the contents of the Political Parties Registration law, which provided that a convicted person cannot be a member of a political party.

In August last year, Suu Kyi was convicted by a Myanmar High Court of giving shelter to an American who reportedly came uninvited to her villa where she was under house arrest at the time. Because of her violation of the terms of that house arrest, she was sentenced to a further detention in her residence until November this year.

”Unless they (military junta) release Suu Kyi and allow her and her party to participate in the elections, it’s a complete farce and therefore contrary to their Roadmap to Democracy,” Romulo told Manila reporters.

In the ASEAN, the Philippines has been in the forefront for the release of Suu Kyi and her eventual return to political life that leaders say would change Myanmar’s political landscape.

Supporters of Suu Kyi said this elections provision is tantamount to barring, and, at worst, expelling her from the NLD.

The Roadmap has been Yangon’s pledge to a return to democratic principles, that include free and fair and honest elections—oft-stated as happening within the year—wherein Suu Kyi could also run for political office if she is freed.

The NLD would be one of the political parties required under the new law to expel members who are not qualified. The NLD also stands to officially cease existing as a party if it does not register anew as required by the new law.

Romulo, however, did not indicate if Philippine resentment with the new development in Myanmar would be agenda at the next ASEAN ministerial meeting. (PNA)



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