NLD Commits to Contesting November Election

By The Associated Press 11 July 2015

NAYPYIDAW — The Burmese opposition party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi announced Saturday it will contest the general election on Nov. 8, an effort that is expected to strongly challenge the ruling military-backed party.

“We will contest the election to continue implementing the democratic transition that has yet to be achieved,” Suu Kyi told a news briefing in the capital Naypyidaw. She said the decision was made by her National League for Democracy’s Central Committee at a meeting earlier in the day. The election date was fixed by the government on Wednesday.

Her party boycotted the 2010 polls because it considered election rules to be unfair. It took part in subsequent by-elections after changes were made, winning almost all seats it contested.

Burma was under military rule from 1962 until 2011, when the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) took power. Critics say the military still is the ultimate power holder.

Suu Kyi’s party has been seeking more changes in the Constitution. She has repeatedly said the election cannot be free or fair if the Constitution is not amended.

The Constitution was enacted during military rule, and gives the army a dominant say in the administration of the country. One clause mandates that 25 percent of the seats in Parliament be held by the military, ensuring it has veto power over constitutional amendments.

Another clause has the practical effect of barring Suu Kyi from becoming president. Parliament turned back recent efforts to change those two key rules.