Senior members of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party have asked the country’s military government to allow them to meet with the detained Nobel Peace Prize laureate and her deputy to discuss next year’s elections, a party spokesman said Tuesday.
National League for Democracy spokesman Nyan Win said the party sent a letter to junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe last Wednesday asking for such permission.
“We need to discuss future party policies and other broad political issues under present circumstances,” Nyan Win said, adding that the 2010 elections would be on the agenda.
The military government has planned the election as part of its seven-step “roadmap to democracy” in accordance with a constitution promulgated last year. Suu Kyi’s party has decried the constitution as undemocratic and has not yet decided whether to take part in next year’s polls, for which an exact date has not been set.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in a 1989 election, but was not allowed to take power by the military.
Suu Kyi and her deputy Tin Oo were both detained in 2003 after a pro-junta mob attacked them during a political tour of northern Myanmar. Suu Kyi, who has been in detention for about 14 of the past 20 years, had her term of house arrest extended by 18 months in May.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month that elections in Myanmar must be free and fair, amid mounting concerns among some governments and rights groups that they won’t be credible.
Ban said he was working hard to keep the pressure on Than Shwe and other Myanmar leaders to live up to their commitments to hold legitimate polls in 2010. At a minimum, the UN wants Suu Kyi and 2,000 other political prisoners released.
Than Shwe has resisted UN demands for reconciliation with the country’s pro-democracy movement, ignoring four Security Council statements and direct entreaties by Ban and his top envoy.