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Sunday, 1 January 2012





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Myanmar sets by-election date-Gvt official

YANGON, Myanmar, 31 Dec, AFP

Myanmar is to hold by-elections on April 1, a government official said, which could propel democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi into the army-dominated parliament. “The by-election will be held on April 1,” a Myanmar government official who asked not to be named told AFP. Suu Kyi, who officially registered her opposition party a week ago, has already said she intends to stand in the polls.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) was given the green light by authorities to rejoin mainstream politics earlier this month, but is waiting for official approval of its application. Suu Kyi, 66, has spent much of the past two decades in detention and was released from house arrest a few days after a controversial November 2010 general election.

The by-elections will offer her an opportunity to seek a seat in a parliament that remains dominated by allies of the former military junta. The Myanmar official, who said an announcement would be made by the Union Election Commission, said those who wish to take part will need to register between January 16 and 31.

The by-election is to fill seats vacated by those elected in the November 2010 vote who have since become ministers and deputy ministers in the government. A total of 48 seats are expected to be up for grabs, although this would not be enough to threaten the resounding majority held by the ruling military-backed party. One quarter of parliament’s seats are taken up by the army while the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is packed with former military men, holds about 80 percent of the remainder.

The NLD was stripped of its status as a legal political party by the junta last year after it chose to boycott the 2010 poll, saying the rules were unfair.

But relations between the new government and the opposition have seen a significant thaw in recent months, with high profile dialogue between former generals, including the president, and Suu Kyi.


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