Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Burma rejects criticism of elections

Burma's foreign minister on Tuesday rejected international criticism of the country's election insisting that the junta is committed to a "free and fair'' vote.

The minister, U Nyan Win, said the election in Burma on November 7, which the opposition has said would be a sham, was "a critical phase of its political transformation process.''

He told the UN General Assembly that more than 3,000 candidates from 37 parties would take part in the vote for 1,171 parliamentary seats.

"Such a large participation made it crystal clear that the elections become virtually inclusive,'' the minister said.

U Nyan Win made no mention of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, nor UN and international demands that she be freed for the vote.

"The people will exercise their democratic right to elect the representatives of their own choice who can serve their interest better,'' the minister said.

"With its ample experiences and lessons learned in holding multiparty general elections in the past history, Burma is confident in its ability to conduct the elections in an orderly manner.

"Whatever the challenges facing us, we are committed to do our best for the successful holding of the free and fair general elections for the best interest of the country and its people.''

A UN ministerial group said Monday that the election will not be credible unless the military rulers release Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition detainees.

The group _ which included ministers from neighbors China and India, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia as well as Britain and the United States _ "clearly reiterated the need for the election process to more inclusive, participatory and transparent,'' UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.

"Members called for steps to be taken for the release of political detainees including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,'' he added.

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