Monday, November 29, 1999

Myanmar`s Suu Kyi irked by NLD breakaway group

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Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi criticised a breakaway faction of her now-defunct political party, her lawyer said, after renegade former members set up a party of their own to contest this year's election.Suu Kyi's own National League for Democracy (NLD) was effectively dissolved after deciding to boycott an upcoming election in the military-ruled southeast Asian country, but several members broke off to create a new opposition party known as the National Democratic Force (NDF) to participate in polls.Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner detained for 15 of the last 21 years, called the splinter group "undemocratic". Her own party did not register its candidacy on May 7, saying unjust election laws barred many of its senior figures from running."Aung San Suu Kyi said that the minority going against the decision unanimously reached by the majority is against democratic practice," said Suu Kyi's lawyer, Nyan Win, one of the few people allowed to visit her.The election, a date for which has not yet been set, has been widely dismissed as a sham to create a facade of democracy in a country ruled by the military for almost five decades.The NLD, which won the last election in 1990 by a landslide but was denied the chance to take office, said it would not run in "unjust" polls, sparking anger among many of its supporters.Critics say elected civilians will be offered only a minor role in the running of the country, with the ruling generals retaining full control, either directly or through proxies.Analysts say the move by the NLD, which was seen as the only party capable of challenging the military's grip on power, could backfire and leave Myanmar with no credible opposition.(Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Reed Stevenson)

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