Suu Kyi's party calls for participation

Yangon - Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi must be allowed to play a role in the nation's political process, her party said on Monday, adding the ruling junta was wrong to bar her from elections.

Foreign Minister Nyan Win last week confirmed to his south east Asian counterparts that the military's new constitution would bar Aung San Suu Kyi from running in elections that have been slated for May.

Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), warned in a statement that the junta was wrong to rule her out before voters were given a chance to decide on the charter in a referendum set for May.

"Aung San Suu Kyi is someone who definitely must be involved in Myanmar's political process," the NLD said.

"It's completely unlawful for an unauthorised person to comment on the election, because there is still no constitution and no election law," the party said, referring to Nyan Win.

"This comment is a personal and political attack on Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, and it also sounds like a pre-determined decision to not allow her to participate in elections," it said.

Nyan Win told a regional gathering in Singapore that the new constitution would ban Aung San Suu Kyi from politics because she married a Briton and her two sons have British nationality.

But the party insisted that Aung San Suu Kyi's family has unrivaled nationalist credentials, because her father General Aung San gave his life to lead the struggle for independence from Britain.

Nyan Win's comments could "harm the national reconciliation process and the country's peace and stability," the party said.

Myanmar's military has ruled the country formerly known as Burma since 1962.

If held, the promised elections would be the first since Aung San Suu Kyi led the NLD to a landslide victory in 1990 polls.

The junta has never recognised the result, and instead has kept the Nobel peace prize winner under house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years.

The United States has ridiculed Myanmar's proposed constitution, urging the regime to "start from scratch" and draft a new one with NLD's participation.