Myanmar's Suu Kyi set to probe election fraud

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will help investigate charges of election fraud if and when she is released from house arrest this week, a close political colleague said Wednesday.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for her National League for Democracy, said the group — which was officially disbanded as a political party but remains active — has established a committee to investigate charges of fraud in last Sunday's polls, the country's first in two decades.

Suu Kyi's party had boycotted the election, charging it was being held under unfair and undemocratic conditions.

The ruling military's proxy party has said it won a sweeping victory, but critics accuse it of widespread vote-rigging.

An official who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said although no official instructions have been made about Suu Kyi's possible release, "necessary security preparations are being made on the ground."

Her term of house arrest is due to expire Saturday.

Nyan Win expressed confidence 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 there were any conditions attached to her freedom. In the past, the military has refused to let her travel out of Yangon, fearing her popularity could encourage dissent.

The election, widely denounced as fraudulent, was a key stage of the ruling junta's "road map to democracy," a process it has controlled every step of the way to ensure it would retain a commanding role in government even with the ostensible restoration of civilian rule.

Nyan Win said Suu Kyi "will actively get involved in the (fraud investigating) committee and give advice when she is released."

He said the committee would hold hearings and gather evidence of election malpractice from independent election monitoring groups.

"We will compile a list of election fraud reports and expose the election irregularities," said Nyan Win. "This is the ugliest election I have ever encountered. There is enormous amount of unfair activity all over the country."

The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party has so far captured 77 percent of the parliamentary seats, a senior party leader said Wednesday.

There was never much doubt about the outcome because the USDP fielded candidates in nearly every district, while the largest anti-government party was able to contest only 164 of the 1,159 parliamentary seats at stake. Campaign rules also limited challengers' chances.

But those parties that challenged the USDP still expressed shock at what they alleged was blatant and widespread vote-rigging.