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NEWS UPDATES 13 July 2010

US concerned about Myanmar

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The United States said it was deeply worried that Myanmar's upcoming election would be unfair, dismissing the junta's move to allow former members of the main opposition party to run, AFP reports. The military regime in Myanmar, also known as Burma, disbanded democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) but last week gave permission to some of its former members to run under a new name.

'It doesn't change our concern about the electoral process. We think that this is a flawed electoral process,' State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

'We respect decisions that former NLD members have made,' he said. 'We certainly do not have any expectation that what proceeds in Burma here will be anything that remotely resembles a free, fair or legitimate result.' The NLD plans to boycott the elections this year, believing they are an attempt for the junta to legitimise its rule.

The polls will be the first since 1990, when the NLD triumphed but was never allowed to take power. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, has spent most of the past two decades under house arrest.

Some activists believe the junta allowed the registration of the new National Democratic Force in part to splinter the opposition, weakening the influence of the NLD and of Suu Kyi.

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