Suu Kyi release all part of junta's plan: analysts

Suu Kyi release all part of junta's plan: analysts

While the final decision lies with junta chief Than Shwe, officials say preparations are under way for the expected release of the detained democracy icon, who has been locked up for most of the past two decades.

Her freedom may be a price the regime is willing to pay to deflect criticism about the poll, widely condemned in the West and seen as a charade to create a facade of democracy after almost five decades of military dictatorship.

"It shows the Burmese (Myanmar) military government is very confident about the state of things, otherwise they wouldn't release her," said Thailand-based analyst Aung Naing Oo.

But allowing her full liberty to conduct political activities is a gamble the junta may be unwilling to take."She will not have complete freedom," said Aung Naing Oo. "She has been considered the number one enemy by the military so if she makes a false move she will find herself back in prison."

When she was last released in 2002 she drew huge crowds wherever she went -- a reminder that years of detention had not reduced her immense popularity.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) opted to boycott the election -- a decision that left the opposition deeply divided.

After the military's proxy claimed an overwhelming victory in Sunday's vote, dashing the hopes of those pro-democracy parties which participated, attention is turning to whether the anti-junta forces will regroup under her leadership.

Opposition parties have urged authorities to act against "cheating", complaining about widespread reports of irregularities, particularly with advance ballots, but few expect any serious investigation into complaints.

"The regime does not want anyone to come into its power-house. That's it," said Maung Zarni, a Myanmar research fellow at the London School of Economics. "It's very North Korean style."

With a quarter of the legislature already reserved for the army, the military and its proxies look set to hold about 85 per cent of seats.

Such a majority would easily enable them to pass legislation and pick the president, who will in turn appoint the cabinet ministers, chief justice and Supreme Court judges.

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