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Washington irked by Myanmar elections

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A decision by the military junta in Myanmar to disband political parties ahead of the November election is a sign the process is a farce, a U.S. official said.

The state-run election commission in Myanmar announced last week that 10 political parties were dissolved, making them ineligible to compete in November elections.

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State television said the decision extended to the National League for Democracy, which was led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She led her National League for Democracy to a decisive victory in 1990, though the military junta never accepted the results.

Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for most of the past two decades.

Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, told reporters during his regular briefing that democracy wasn't taking hold in Myanmar.

"I would just say that it's another discouraging sign … that elections will be anything but democratic there," he said.

The ruling generals in Myanmar said the November election is part of a process meant to transfer authority from military to civilian leaders. Reports earlier this month suggested the military leaders were resigning in mass numbers to compete in the process, though those reports later proved to be inaccurate.

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Western allies say the Myanmar election will be a shame because military rulers have tight control over an elections commission appointed by the military junta.

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