The National League for Democracy (NLD) decided on Monday that it would not register for the upcoming 2010 elections. Last week, the leader of the NLD, Aung San Suu Kyi, stated that she did not want the NLD to register under the current election laws, but that the party members should decide for themselves democratically. The NLD’s 92-year-old chairman, Aung Shwe, stated last week that he support registering and participating in the election, but sent a letter to the NLD this week saying he would follow Suu Kyi’s decision.
The Irrawaddy reported that senior party official Khin Maung Swe stated after the NLD’s member meeting on Monday, “Without any objections, all the party leaders reached a consensus not to register the party and join the election because the junta’s election laws are unjust. We also agreed to call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners.” Almost 160 members met in Rangoon on Friday to discuss and vote on whether the NLD should register.
According to the election laws, if the NLD refuses to register by May 7, they will cease to exist as a legal political party. If they choose to participate in the election, the party will have to expel Aung San Suu Kyi and its 400-something members who are imprisoned under politically motivated charges, because the election laws stipulated by the military regime ban prisoners from being members of a political party.
We applaud the laudable stand taken by the members of the NLD to boycott this unfair and undemocratic elections, and their determination to continue fighting for democracy and justice for the people of Burma despite mounting pressure and persecutions by the military regime.
At this time, we also would like to seize the opportunity to call on the international community as well as the ethnic minority groups inside the country to boycott the elections and to refuse to acknowledge the results of this sham political process. We must say no today so we can say yes to democracy in the future.