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Burma's Military to Appoint Election Commission

Burma issued the first details of long-awaited polling laws Tuesday, revealing that the ruling military will pick all members of the country's new election commission.

The government enacted five new laws Monday ahead of elections promised later this year. The junta still has not given a date for the vote, Burma's first in 20 years.

State-run newspapers on Tuesday published the first of the laws, the "Union Election Commission Law," signed by top military ruler Senior General Than Shwe. The article said the government will itself appoint the five-member commission.

The commission will be responsible for designating constituencies, compiling voter lists and supervising political parties to perform in accordance with the law.

Zin Linn, a spokesman for Burma's government-in-exile, said the vote will not be free and fair as long as political prisoners remain jailed and the constitution remains "undemocratic."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he has urged Burma to release democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners before holding the election.

He said Burma should work toward holding elections that are "credible, inclusive, and transparent."

Nobel Peace laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won the most recent election, in 1990, in a landslide, but the military refused to give up power.

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been been in government detention for 14 of the last 20 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.