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Burma's Leader Warns of Saboteurs Conspiring to Derail Election

The head of Burma's military government has warned of saboteurs conspiring to derail the country's election, to be held some time this year.

The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper published General Than Shwe's May Day address Saturday, in which he urged everyone to "ward off attempts of saboteurs and aliens to interfere and to sow seeds of mistrust" in the country.

State media reported earlier in the week that Prime Minister Thien Sein and at least 20 other ministers registered a new political party to run in the upcoming general election.

The prime minister and others retired from their military posts and formed the Union Solidarity and Development Party.
The Burmese constitution allocates a fixed number of seats to the military and to civilians.

The poll will be the country's first election in two decades.

On Thursday, Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi filed a lawsuit to prevent the dissolution of her National League for Democracy party under the country's new election laws.

The suit called on the Supreme Court to establish a parliament comprised of members who won the last democratic elections in 1990. Those elections were won by the NLD, but the ruling military refused to recognize the results.

The detained Nobel Peace laureate's party announced earlier this year it would not participate in the upcoming elections because the new laws ban anyone convicted of a crime from becoming a member of a political party.

The party must re-register by May 6 or face dissolution.

Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted last year of violating the terms of her house arrest when she gave shelter to an American man who swam to her lakeside Rangoon house uninvited. She was sentenced to an additional 18 months under house detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been under some form of detention for 14 of the last 20 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.