Suu Kyi's NLD party remains defiant

YANGON, Myanmar, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Despite losing a legal appeal in Myanmar for recognition as an official political party, the National League for Democracy said it will continue to support the people.

Myanmar's highest court upheld the legal ruling the that the dissolution of the NLD late last year was correct according to law.


NLD party officials refused to register their organization with the electoral commission because their leader, democracy advocate and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, was under house arrest.

Even if Suu Kyi would have been released prior to the vote laws enacted last summer made her ineligible to run in the election because she had a criminal record.

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Only registered parties had official status and could run in the Nov. 7 elections, the first in 20 years, but considered fraudulent by many Western nations.

The junta reserved one-quarter of the seats in the new Parliament that will sit for the first time this week. Critics of the junta and pro-democracy groups said this means the military will remain in power in all but name.

Many of the junta's ruling elite resigned their military positions to swell the ranks of the Union Solidarity and Development Party that claimed to have won 80 percent of the votes.

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The NLD took the case concerning its legal standing to courts four times.

"Our existence and our legality does not change because of this court decision," Nyan Win, Suu Kyi's lawyer and member of the NLD, said. "Our party still exists. As Aung San Suu Kyi said, what really matters is the support of the people."

Many Western countries had urged the junta to release Suu Kyi as well as other political prisoners as a sign the military was sincere about moving toward democracy.

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However, Suu Kyi, who had spent most the past 20 years under some form of incarceration, ranging from prison terms to lengthy house arrests, remained under house arrest at her lakeside home near the old capital of Yangon, formerly called Rangoon.

Democracy advocates decried the military's obstinacy over the release of Suu Kyi as a sign the junta was taking no chances of her and the NLD gaining another victory. She won the previous election in 1991 but the military refused to hand over power.

Suu Kyi was released shortly after the election and greeted by an emotional crowd.

News of the court ruling came as Suu Kyi was addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, calling for more investment in Myanmar, formerly called Burma, as a way of helping the 55 million people.


She said that Myanmar had "already missed so many opportunities because of political conflicts," but she said investors should "put a premium on respect for the law" and a national reconciliation.

"Economic policies linked to human development and capacity building are the best path to the achievement of stability in a democratic transition," Suu Kyi said. "I would like to appeal to all those present ... to promote national reconciliation, genuine democratization, human development and economic growth in Burma."

During her last house detention, which lasted seven years, she often had talks with senior junta officials about the economic progress of Myanmar and said she would work toward reconciliation and ending EU and U.S. trade embargoes.

This week, Myanmar's elected members of Parliament meet for the first time in a recently finished building in Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital created out in the jungle by the ruling generals in 2005.

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