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Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar elections will not be free or fair

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi says the Myanmar elections will not be free or fair.

Aung san suu kyi elections not free fairEnlarge
A man holds a portrait of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally for a candidate of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party at a Yangon constituency on March 30, 2012. Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on March 30 that by-elections in Myanmar would not be "genuinely free and fair", sounding a note of caution over her landmark bid for a seat in parliament. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Friday that Myanmar's upcoming elections would be neither free nor fair due to widespread irregularities, according to the Associated Press.

She vowed to continue her candidacy for the sake of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The irregularities she pointed out included opposition candidates having stones thrown at them, campaign posters being vandalized and members of her National League for Democracy facing intimidation during the run up to Sunday's parliamentary by-elections. Suu Kyi said government officials were also involved in some of the irregularities, which went "beyond what is acceptable for democratic elections."

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However, she said, "Still, we are determined to go forward because we think this is what our people want," according to the AP.

The names of hundreds of deceased have been listed on the electoral roll in the constituency she is contesting, while more than 1,300 people who are eligible to vote have been left out, her party said, according to the BBC.

The elections on April 1 will be the first since the military-backed civilian government led by President Thein Sein took power last year.

The BBC noted that it will also be the first election in Myanmar where foriegn observers are allowed, with a few representatives from the Association of South-East Asian Nations, the European Union and the United States being invited to observe polling.

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In recent months, Myanmar has taken steps toward greater openness, including holding talks with ethnic rebel groups, pardoning political prisoners and allowing these elections. CNN noted that top diplomats from the US, Britain and France had also made visits to the country, indicating that if reforms continued and were genuine in the country, there might be an easing on the international sanctions against Myanmar.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120330/aung-san-suu-kyi-myanmar-elections-will-not-be-free-or-fair