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Thu, 11 Mar 2010 13:29 - Updated Thu, 11 Mar 2010 13:27

Burma laws condemned as a 'mockery' of democracy


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Myanmar - Election laws announced by Burma's military rulers have provoked a storm of condemnation.

A US official said they made a mockery of the democratic process, while a UN spokesman said they fell short of expectations for an inclusive election.

The laws are being announced ahead of Burma's first polls in two decades - although no date has yet been set.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is banned from participating, as are other senior pro-democracy figures.

The new elections laws were formally approved by Burma's military leaders on Monday and are being published in state media gradually.

On Thursday a 17-member election commission was named to oversee the polls, headed by a former military officer.

Critics say the elections, the first to be held in Burma for 20 years, will be a sham designed to entrench the military's grip on power.