Even though her name is on a voter’s list, Aung San Suu Kyi (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk) will refuse to vote in the general election on 7 November.
Nyan Win, the lawyer of Burma’s detained pro-democracy leader, said she would not take part in a poll organised by the military.
In 1990, Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in the last election, but the junta annulled the result, and kept her in near continuous detention.
Many see the poll as a sham that will just cement the military’s power because under the new constitution, some 25% of seats are guaranteed to the military.
As a result unelected military officers will sit in parliament.
Furthermore, the government has also founded its own political party : the Union Solidarity and Development Party, headed by the incumbent prime minister.
Currently under house arrest, Suu Kyi was at first excluded from the electoral roll.
And about 2,000 other activists are also still detained.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) had already decided to disband in order to avoid having to expel Suu Kyi and other detainees under strict electoral laws.
If her decision encourages other NLD supporters not to vote, it could infuriate the current military leadership.
“The NLD will not compete so she (Suu Kyi) said she has no party to vote for even if she is allowed to vote. As the NLD is not participating in the election, she will not vote,” said Nyan Win.
He added that Suu Kyi had also pointed out that any grant to her of the right to vote would contravene the junta’s own laws which prohibit detainees from taking part in the polls.
The state-controlled press has criticised her advice to followers also not to vote.
Suu Kyi’s house arrest is due to expire on 13 November and she expects to be released “according to the law”, Nyan Win said.
“If she is not released it is like a violation,” he said.
Burma’s poor human rights record and refusal to hand over power to Suu Kyi 20 years ago is raising criticism from many Western countries and the UN.