The party of detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday it was sorry it could not bring democracy to the country because of repression by the military government but it will continue its nonviolent struggle.
The National League for Democracy last week decided to boycott the first scheduled elections in two decades. It said the electoral laws imposed by the ruling junta, which would prevent Suu Kyi from taking part, were undemocratic.
In a statement Tuesday, the NLD said its leaders and the party members had sacrificed and worked relentlessly. The party "earnestly apologizes to the people" for its failure to achieve national reconciliation and democracy, due to arrests, repression, harassment and threats by the authorities.
"However, the League will never turn its back to the people or to its struggle for democracy," the statement said. "We pledge to continue to achieve our goals for democracy through systematic, peaceful and nonviolent means."
Myanmar, also known as Burma, which has been ruled by its military for 48 years. The government has touted the polls as part of a "roadmap to democracy." Critics say the elections are a sham designed to cement the power of the military.
The junta says it will hold the elections this year but has not set a date.
The NLD statement said the electoral laws imposed by the junta for the polls are "unjust' and "unrealistic."
The party's refusal to participate is likely to undermine the vote's credibility in the eyes of foreign governments and the United Nations, which have urged the diplomatically isolated junta to ensure all groups take part.
Suu Kyi's party won the last elections held in Myanmar in 1990 by a landslide but was barred by the military from taking power.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, has spent 14 of the last 20 years in jail or under house arrest.