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EU weighs in on vote in Myanmar

BRUSSELS, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- The ruling military junta in Myanmar is gearing up for "fake elections," a human rights group told members of the European Parliament on Monday.

Myanmar has a general election next month that military authorities said moves the country along the path toward civilian leadership. The military junta was criticized, however, for a decision last month to disband 10 political parties, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

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Zoya Phan, a member of the British advocacy group Burma Campaign, told members of the European Parliament the military junta is seeking legal cover through sham elections.

"The regime is now going ahead with its own fake elections that will bring in a constitution that will legalize military rule," she said in a statement.

European lawmaker Heidi Hautala, who leads a subcommittee on human rights, said every dictatorship must eventually be held accountable to its people.

"It would be a mistake to put too much faith into the elections," she said.

Authorities in Myanmar said they would release Suu Kyi from custody before the vote, though the international community raised doubts over the claim.

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Critics complain the election is controlled by the military junta, which gets a guaranteed a 20 percent of the seats in parliament.

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