Burma's Pro-junta Party Wins Parliament Majority
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Burma's Pro-junta Party Wins Parliament Majority

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Friday, November 12, 2010


RANGOON— Burma's pro-junta political party secured a majority of seats in both houses of the future parliament, the latest official results from the country's first election in 20 years showed.

The partial batch of results released on Thursday confirm the victory of the Union Solidarity and Development Party in Sunday's vote, which critics say was marked by fraud and engineered to sustain the military's power.

The latest results were announced the same day democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi lost an appeal for early release from house arrest. The sentence is due to expire on Saturday, and close aides remain optimistic she will be freed.

The junta has not confirmed the 65-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner will be set free, but government officials have quietly said they are making "necessary security preparations" for this weekend.

State radio on Thursday night announced results for 147 constituencies in the Lower House, with the USDP winning 133. The USDP won 81 of 86 races newly announced for the Upper House.

The new and previously announced results show the USDP gained majorities in both houses of Parliament: 190 of the 219 seats announced for the 330-seat Lower House, and 95 out of 107 seats announced for the 168-seat Upper House.

Top members of the ruling junta were among those who won seats. They include Prime Minister Thein Sein who also heads the USDP, a proxy for the junta.

Suu Kyi has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years, the latest for violating terms of her house arrest by briefly sheltering an uninvited American who swam to her home.

Her third and final appeal on that case was filed at the Special Appellate Bench in the remote capital of Naypyitaw.

The court posted its decision on Thursday on a public notice board, giving no explanation for why the appeal was turned down, said Nyan Win, Suu Kyi's lawyer.

"This decision is absolutely wrong and shows the state of the justice system in the country," he told The Associated Press.

Once she is released, Suu Kyi plans to help her disbanded party probe allegations of fraud in the polls, said Nyan Win, who is also a spokesman for the party.

Re-entering politics, especially in a manner that would embarrass the junta, poses the sort of challenge that the military has met in the past by detaining her. While her National League for Democracy was disbanded because it refused to participate in the election, it remains enormously popular as a social movement.

The NLD's dilapidated headquarters in Rangoon has been bustling with party members tidying up Suu Kyi's old office in anticipating she would be freed.

"She has to be freed as there is no law under which her detention can be extended," said Nyan Win. But he added Suu Kyi would not accept her release if conditions were imposed. In the past, the military has not let her travel out of Rangoon, fearing her popularity could encourage dissent.

The younger of Suu Kyi's two sons, Kim Aris, was granted a Burma visa this week, indicating he may be allowed to see his mother for the first time in 10 years. The 33-year-old Aris lives in Britain and has been denied visas repeatedly.

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