03/12/2010, 00.00
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Desmond Tutu and Aung San Suu Kyi agree, Myanmar elections “shameful”, a “farce”

The South African archbishop is in favour of sanctions against the military junta, compares Burma’s opposition leader to Nelson Mandela. One day, he said, she will be “freely elected” to lead her country. The Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner appeals to the people to stand up to the unjust law.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – “We are more likely to find snow in hell than free democratic elections in Burma under the present dispensation,” said Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu in an interview with The Irrawaddy, a dissident Burmese newspaper. He told the paper that the election was a “farce”, reiterating earlier criticism made by Aung San Suu Kyi, who had labelled the military junta’s election law as “shameful”. The Anglican religious leader, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his struggle against apartheid in South Africa, said he hoped that one day he might travel to Yangon to meet the opposition leader.

“My dear Sister Nobel Laureate, my dear sisters and brothers in Burma, we admire your courage and determination,” he said. “One day we will come to Rangoon to join you in your celebrations when you, my sister, are inaugurated as the true, freely elected leader of Burma just as Nelson Mandela came out of jail and became our leader.”

Desmond Tutu backs international sanctions against Myanmar and calls the elections, which are scheduled for later this year, a “farce”.

“How can you claim to hold a free democratic election when the leader of the main opposition which won a landslide victory in the last truly democratic and free election is excluded and where the election commissioners will be handpicked by the junta?” the prelate said.

National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi also slammed the election law, calling it “shameful”, her lawyer and party spokesman Nyan Win said. He explained that the piece of legislation excludes people who have been convicted, including political prisoners, or are waiting their final sentence. It is thus a law designed to exclude one woman, and one woman alone, from the electoral process.

“The laws include certain facts that show it was obviously meant for one individual and that makes it very shameful. It cheapens the legislation,” Win quoted Aung San Suu Kyi as saying. For this reason, she made an appeal to the Burmese people to stand up to the unjust law.

Meanwhile the US government said it would not recognise the outcome of the polls. “There’s no hope that this election will be credible,” US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, adding the laws make the election a “mockery of the democratic process.”

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