Suu Kyi to compete despite election woes

March 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM
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YANGON, Myanmar, March 30 (UPI) -- A weekend by-election in Myanmar may be problematic though the opposition will take part nonetheless, said Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has elections Sunday to fill 48 seats in the country's Senate and lower house of Parliament. Foreign governments have praised Myanmar's apparent steps toward democracy, though concerns over prisoners of conscience, human rights and ethnic tensions remain.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and pro-democracy leader, said she doubted the election could be "genuinely free and fair" but said she was "determined" to go ahead with her bid for a seat in Parliament, the BBC reports.

Her opposition National League for Democracy claims names of deceased people are on the list of those eligible to vote and there were reports of intimidation.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, the U.N. special envoy on the human rights situation in Myanmar, said the weekend election was "crucial" for Myanmar.

"The flawed electoral process of the 2010 national elections, which failed to meet international standards, was a missed opportunity for Myanmar to address its challenges in democratization," he said in a statement. "It should not be repeated as Myanmar enters a new and more open era."

Sunday's elections will be the first for Myanmar with international election monitors present.

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