Aung San Suu Kyi’s Party to Re-enter Burma Politics

Posted November 24th, 2011 at 9:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Burma's main opposition is expected to officially re-enter the mainstream political process and run in an upcoming parliamentary election.

The National League for Democracy led by Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, said it would file an application for a registration Friday. Elections will be held for 48 seats, but a date for the polls has yet not been set.

Party spokesman Nyan Win announced the decision last week and said Aung San Suu Kyi might run. It is not clear which district she would seek to represent.

The party boycotted elections in November 2010 because of a law that had prevented Aung San Suu Kyi, a political prisoner, from running. The new government has scrapped the law.

The decision of Aung San Suu Kyi's group to register as a formal party signals that the opposition has some confidence in government reforms.

The new nominally civilian government, which includes many former military rulers, took power in March. Since then, Aung San Suu Kyi has met with government representatives several times. In a series of conciliatory gestures, the government has halted an unpopular dam project and passed a bill that allows citizens to stage peaceful protests. The leaders also have released about 200 political prisoners.

U.S. President Barack Obama is sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Burma next month to see first hand if there has been progress. She is the first secretary of state to visit Burma in half a century.

But human rights groups and many politicians have voiced concerns about continued human rights abuses in the country.

The groups say that hundreds of political prisoners remain jailed and cite government abuses against Burma's ethnic minorities in the country's north.

The human rights committee of the United Nations General Assembly at a session Monday welcomed the new government's contacts with Aung San Suu Kyi, but also passed a resolution voicing concern about the violation of fundamental freedoms in the country.

The National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory in 1990, but the military refused to relinquish power. Since then, Aung San Suu Kyi was kept in some form of detention on and off for 14 years until November of last year.