Aung San Suu Kyi To Stand In Burmese Elections, Reports Confirm

Suu Kyi

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 10/01/2012 10:39 Updated: 10/01/2012 10:55

Burmese pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has confirmed she will run for a seat in the country's parliament, according to reports.

Suu Kyi's National League For Democracy party said on Tuesday that she will run for one of the 48 vacant seats due to be contested in the April by-election.

It is thought she will stand in the Yangon suburb of Kawhmu.

Most of those seats were made vacant when MPs were promoted to ministerial posts following 2010's national elections, which were dominated by the ruling party.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, was under house arrest during those elections, and the government which replaced the military junta still has close ties to the former regime.

Since those elections the Burmese authorities have moved to relax restrictions on political discussion as well as legalising labour unions and ensuring greater freedom for the press.

However, Suu Kyi had remained unsure as recently as last week whether she would stand, telling the Associated Press that there were still dangers in dealing with the regime.

"I think there are obstacles, and there are some dangers that we have to look out for," Suu Kyi had told the AP. "I am concerned about how much support there is in the military for changes."

It is unlikely that Suu Kyi or her party will hold significant power even if they win the elections because the military and pro-military party are guaranteed a majority of seats, but it is still a remarkable turnaround since she was placed under house arrest following her overwhelming victory in the country's 1990 poll.

In a visit to Burma last week Foreign Secretary William Hague met Suu Kyi and said that Britain supported her efforts to expand democracy in the country.

"It is vital that the by-elections on 1 April are credible, free and fair and enable all parties to compete," he said at the end of his two-day trip. "We welcome the NLD's courageous decision to participate in these elections, and the world will watch these elections closely."

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