Saturday, 19 November 2011

Myanmar new elections

Myanmar's main opposition party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi decided Friday to rejoin politics and register for future elections, signaling its confidence in recent reforms by the military-aligned government.

The National League for Democracy party "has unanimously decided to reregister as a political party ... and will run in the elections," it said in a statement issued at the end of a meeting of senior members from across the country.

"What we are doing now involves a lot of risk but it is time to take the risk because in politics there is no 100 percent assurance of success," Suu Kyi told them.

The NLD had refused to register for elections last year – the first since 1990 – because of a restriction that would have prevented Suu Kyi from running. That restriction was lifted this year by a new nominally civilian government that took office from a long-ruling military junta after the November 2010 polls.

At the NLD meeting, member after member, including Suu Kyi, spoke out in favor of joining the political arena because of reforms initiated by the new government, which have drawn cautious approval from even its most bitter critic, the United States.

President Barack Obama announced Friday that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would visit early next month – the first such trip in more than a half-century – after what he said were "flickers of progress" in Myanmar.

Any party that registers itself is required to run for at least three seats in the still-unscheduled by-elections for 48 vacant seats in Parliament. The legislature comprises 224 members in the upper house and 440 members in the lower house.

It is likely that Suu Kyi would run for office, said NLD spokesman Nyan Win. He said the party will file registration papers with the Election Commission in the capital, Naypyitaw, "as soon as possible."

"Some party members are concerned that my dignity will be affected if I run for the election," Suu Kyi told her colleagues. "If one is engaged in politics, one has to do what is necessary. If I feel that I should take part in elections, I will participate." Aung San Suu Kyi - Myanmar new elections

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