SYDNEY, March 30 (cripdo) - Australia said Tuesday that elections in Myanmar would only be fair if Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party can take part, and said meaningful change in the military-run state was now doubtful.
The National League for Democracy has refused to register for the vote expected later this year, after the military junta introduced a new election law that would have forced it to oust its detained leader.
"I don't believe that any election without the National League for Democracy can be a full, free and fair election," Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told ABC Radio.
Smith said the new election law made it difficult, if not impossible, for the NLD to take part in the election with Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi as its leader.
"Unless something fundamental or substantial changes, regrettably I think it does put paid to what slim prospects we had, hopeful prospects we had earlier this year that we might make some progress on the democracy front in Burma (Myanmar)," Smith said.
Under the controversial legislation, the NLD could only have taken part in the elections if it had parted ways with Suu Kyi, because she is serving a prison term.
But by not registering, the party now faces dissolution under the legislation.
The democracy leader, who has been locked up for 14 of the past 20 years, had already told the party she was opposed to its participation in the much-criticised vote.