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U.N. presses Myanmar on elections

U.N. presses Myanmar on elections
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN on September 23, 2010 in New York. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The military junta in Myanmar is called on to release political prisoners as a way to lend credibility to November elections, a U.N. committee said.

The military junta in Myanmar upset the international community when it disbanded 10 political parties in September, making them ineligible to compete in a November general election.

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Myanmar said the election is meant to usher in a new era of civilian leadership in the country. Critics complain the election process is controlled by military authorities, who are guaranteed a 20 percent allocation of the seats in parliament.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Group of Friends on Myanmar that military leaders need to release Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to lend credibility to the political process.

"This is essential for the elections to be seen as credible and to contribute to Myanmar's stability and development," he said in his statement.

Last week, Suu Kyi's name was apparently added to the voter list for the elections. She has been under house arrest for nearly 15 years. Her National League for Democracy won 1990 elections though the military leadership refused to sanction the results.

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"The group encourages the government of Myanmar to adopt a more constructive and forward-looking approach in its response to the international community's call for engagement," said the secretary-general.

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