Wed 31 Mar 2010
Filed under: Regional
Singapore said it would be harder for national reconciliation to be achieved in Burma because of the decision by the opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi to boycott the polls widely expected to take place later this year.‘We are disappointed that the new election laws have led to this result. This will make it harder for national reconciliation to be achieved,’ the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday in response to media queries.
‘We have always held that national reconciliation among the stakeholders is a critical element for the legitimacy of the elections.
‘This would require the participation of the National League for Democracy and other political parties. It is still not too late for all parties to reach a compromise and we urge them to do so,’ the spokesman said in a statement.
The National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept the last elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power, decided on Monday not to contest the upcoming elections.
The United States and Australia have blamed the ruling junta, which cancelled the NLD’s victory in Burma’s last elections held in 1990, for boxing the party into a corner and undermining hope for change after decades of military rule, Associated Press reported.
‘We think this is an opportunity lost in terms of Burma’s ability to demonstrate that it is willing to contemplate a different course of action, a different relationship with its own people,’ said US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, using Burma’s former name.
Mr Crowley indicated that the US would continue dialogue with the junta, but Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith was downcast about prospects for reform in the pariah state, reported the Agence France-Presse.
‘I don’t believe that any election without the National League for Democracy can be a full, free and fair election,’ he told ABC Radio.
Election laws announced by the junta earlier this month ban political parties from having prisoners, like Ms Suu Kyi, within their numbers.