Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi to contest in by-election

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Suu Kyi in 2011.
Image: World Economic Forum.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar registered yesterday as a candidate in the parliamentary by-election. She is contesting, for her party the National League for Democracy (NLD), for Kawhmu, among the 48 seats in the election scheduled in April.

Suu Kyi is to contest in elections for the first time. Her party won the 1990 election, but she was under house arrest. The military junta did not accept NLD's majority in that election. She was released in November 2010. The NLD objected to electoral laws and boycotted 2010 elections.

Kawhmu is a rural township in south-west Myanmar which was hit by cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Suu Kyi's party would not have much power even if it won all the 48 available seats in the election. Nevertheless, her participation could be a test for democratic reforms in Myanmar.