Party Registration Commences
18 March 2010: State-owned broadcast media today announced that political parties wishing to participate in the junta-planned elections this year can now tender their registration with the Union Election Commission in the administrative capital Naypyidaw.
The announcement was authorized by Win Ko, Secretary of the Union Election Commission. It says that political parties are free to submit their registration during office hours.
There have been no accounts on how many or what political parties have registered since the announcement.
Some of the largest pre-existing political parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD) have been pre-disqualified by a clause contained in the new electoral laws, which place arbitrary conditions on the parties for eligibility. Notable among such conditions is a clause that says that a political party cannot have a leader with a jail term conviction by a Burmese court.
Many of the political parties, including some of the biggest ethnic political parties have one or more of their leaders serving prison sentences imposed by the Burmese court. Khun Htun Oo, an MP elect and the Chairman of the largest ethnic political party Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), for example, is currently serving a 93-year prison sentence for his political activity.
The United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), an ethnic coalition representing 12 ethnic political parties, in a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this week complained of the unfair and exclusionary nature of the electoral laws.
Burma’s military junta is yet to announce the date for the elections this year.