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Suu Kyi expected to announce candidacy soon

(Mizzima) – Aung San Suu Kyi has yet to officially announce what parliamentary constituency she will contest, but voters now know they will be casting their ballots in the by-election on April 1.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is preparing to contest for a Parliament seat in a Rangoon constituency.  Photo: MizzimaSome sources have said Suu Kyi will file in Kawhmu, a rural township south of Rangoon, but that cannot be officially confirmed.

The official election date announcement came on Saturday through the state-media. The National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Suu Kyi, is still waiting for the approval of its application to re-register as a political party. After its approval, she is expected to announce.

Lower House Parliament Speaker Thura Shwe Mann said he welcomed Suu Kyi on behalf of the People’s Parliament if she plans to compete for a seat.

The chairman of EC, Tin Aye, said he promised opposition leader Suu Kyi that he will ensure the by-elections are free and fair, and the government will work with the opposition. Forty-eight parliamentary seats are up for grabs.

Suu Kyi’s decision to contest in the by-election has captured the public’s interest.

But critics say her ability to influence Parliament will be limited as long as the army continues to dominate the majority, while the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which won 80 percent of the vote, is seen by many as a product of the army.

The fear is that it will be a good PR show for the international community, but Suu Kyi’s real influence would be muted easily. However, Suu Kyi says progress has been made in Burma since a quasi-civilian government came to power in March 2011.

During the 2010 election campaign, political parties had to seek advance approval from the EC prior to canvassing for votes and faced various other forms of campaign restrictions. EC leader Tin Aye said that in the by-elections, parties will not face a repeat of such conditions and they all can launch their campaigns without reporting to the election commission in advance.

The EC chief welcomed the fact that the NLD would compete in the election and said Suu Kyi will serve for the good of the public.

Last year’s elections were marred by heavy vote rigging, but some observers say the coming by-election might be more fair, particularly because the USDP has already gained a majority of seats in Parliament and also because the election will test to what extent Burma has made political progress under the new government.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 January 2012 18:48 )  

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