Burma’s military government is set to convene its first session of parliament in more than two decades on Monday.
The formation of a national parliament in the capital of Naypyitaw in central Burma, far from major population centers, takes the country toward the final stage of the government’s self-proclaimed transition to democracy.
But the legislature will be composed almost entirely of military allies. One quarter of the parliamentary seats already were reserved for military nominees even before the November national elections. And the government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won nearly 80 percent of the remaining seats.
Critics say a parliament without the opposition National League for Democracy party headed by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi can not lay legitimate claim to democratic labels or ideals.
The NLD won a landslide elections victory in 1990, but the military refused to recognize those results.
In other developments, the NLD launched a website Sunday aimed at broadening its reach.
Aung San Suu Kyi described the website as a chance for her party to reach a goal of “democratic union at a faster pace.”
The move came just two days after a special court rejected her appeal to reinstate her political party, which was forced to dissolve last year after it boycotted parliamentary elections.
In announcing the boycott, the NLD said it was protesting a decree from the military government banning convicted felons from joining political parties. Critics say the ban was aimed at keeping Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest for her pro-democracy activities, from gaining political office.