A new election law issued by Myanmar's ruling military has barred pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from joining a political party and thus running in upcoming elections, state-run newspapers said on Wednesday.
The Political Parties Registration Law, published in official newspapers, excludes anyone convicted by a court of law from participating in the elections.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention, was convicted last August of violating the terms of her house arrest by briefly sheltering an American who swam uninvited to her lakeside residence. She was sentenced to a new term of house arrest that is to end this November.
The sentence was seen as a way to keep Suu Kyi locked up during the election campaign. Last month, the Supreme Court dismissed her latest appeal for freedom.
The election law says that political parties have 60 days from Monday, when the law was promulgated, to register with an Election Committee whose members are to be appointed by the junta. The date of the elections has not been announced, and Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party has not said whether it will contest the balloting.
The law also bars members of religious orders and civil servants from joining political parties.
The regime enacted five election-related laws on Monday, two of which have now been made public. Three more are to be unveiled in coming days.
The government announced in 2008 that elections will take place sometime in 2010. The last elections in 1990 were won overwhelmingly by Suu Kyi's party, but the military refused to hand over power. Her party says the new constitution of 2008 is unfair and gives the military controlling say in government.