Myanmar’s Suu Kyi fights for legal existence of her disbanded party

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi sues to keep her party intact

YANGON, Myanmar — Detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday launched a legal battle against the ruling military junta, suing to keep her political party intact after it was disbanded earlier this year under Myanmar’s new party registration law, her lawyer said.

Suu Kyi filed suit against the ruling military council, seeking a High Court declaration that her National League for Democracy remains a legal political party.

The NLD officially lost its legal status on May 6 because it failed to reregister in order to take part in November general elections. The party is boycotting the polls, which it considers unfair and undemocratic. Among the various restrictions imposed under recently enacted election laws, Suu Kyi would not be allowed to remain a member of her own party. The military-backed constitution already has clauses that would bar her from holding political office.

The lawsuit appears to be largely symbolic since Myanmar’s courts invariably adhere to the junta’s policies, especially on political matters. Previous appeals by Suu Kyi to the courts, on matters such as her detention, have been shunted aside or dismissed.

Nyan Win, who is Suu Kyi’s lawyer as well as a spokesman for her party, told reporters that the state Election Commission does not have the authority to dissolve the NLD, which was registered under a previous party registration law. Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in the last election in 1990, but was not allowed to take power by the military.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been locked away for 15 of the past 21 years. Her latest term of 18 months’ house arrest is due to expire on Nov. 13, just days after the scheduled Nov. 7 general election.

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