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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2964

Aung San Suu Kyi debarred from contesting in the 2010 polls

Bangkok, 09 March, ( United Nations special envoy Ibrahim Gambari met with detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday, after the military junta to make it clear that they would not allow her to contest polls scheduled for 2010.

Gambari arrived on Thursday on a mission to persuade the ruling regime to include Suu Kyi more in the reconciliation process.

According to state media reports, Information Minister Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan told Gambari on Friday that Burmese regime had rejected a request by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that the regime amends the new constitution to "ensure inclusiveness."

"The constitution has already been drafted and it should not be amended again," Kyaw Hsan said.

"Although we have opened the door for (a) 'win-win' situation, (the) NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are refusing to join hands," Kyaw Hsan said.

He urged the visiting envoy to support the junta's "seven step" road map and stop pursuing alternatives suggested by western democracies.

"We shall not accept any attempt to hinder or reverse the process of the seven-step road map. However, we will heartily welcome the positive suggestions of the UN to help implement the seven-step road map," Kyaw Hsan concluded.

Gambari reportedly promised to pass on the minister's "clarification" to the UN Secretary General.

In a letter dated February 19 to Burma's military supremo Senior General Than Shwe, the UN Secretary General called for an amendment to the current draft constitution that would drop a clause excluding all Burmese nationals married to foreigners from running for election.

Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since May 2003, was married to the late Michael Aris, a British professor at Oxford University.

The new constitution, drafted by a military-appointed forum, will be voted on in a referendum in May.

It is widely expected that the constitution will be approved by the referendum, which is expected to be manipulated.

The referendum is part of the regime's so-called "seven-step road map" to democracy that will culminate in a general election now scheduled in 2010.

In the meantime, Ibrahim Gambari on the third day of his latest visit to Burma, met yesterday in Yangon separately with representatives of the National League for Democracy and later with the detained opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The meeting between Ibrahim Gambari and Suu Kyi, took place at the Sein Le Kantha State House, lasted for an hour and a half, according to UN officials.

A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ms. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for over four years, and has spent more than 11 years in detention since the NLD and its allies won the 1990 election with over 80 per cent of the parliamentary seats.

Ibrahim Gambari also met separately with representatives of the Pa-O National Organization, the National Unity Party and the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA).

This is his third visit to Burma since the Government's crackdown on peaceful protesters last summer.

- Asian Tribune -

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