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Updated: January 10, 2012 12:20 IST

Aung San Suu Kyi to contest by-election in Yangon

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A file photo of Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
A file photo of Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi will contest the upcoming by-election in a Yangon neighbourhood that was hard-hit by the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, opposition sources said on Tuesday.

“It’s official. She will contest in Kawhmu Township, Yangon,” National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Nyan Win said. Kawhmu is located in the southwestern part of the Yangon region.

The area was among those worst hit by Cyclone Nargis in May, 2008 that claimed 138,000 lives in the Yangon Region and Irrawaddy Delta.

Myanmar will hold a by-election on April 1, to fill 48 parliamentary seats left vacant when cabinet members assumed their ministerial posts in March, 2011.

The Election Commission last week approved the NLD’s application to contest the by-election.

Should she win in the Kawhmu seat, which is deemed likely, Ms. Suu Kyi is expected to become the opposition leader in Parliament, making her eligible for appointment to various government committees, government sources said.

“It is possible that Aung San Suu Kyi may head of one of these committees but it depends on her abilities,” presidential advisor Nay Zin Latt said.

The April 1 by-election will be the first polls Ms. Suu Kyi has participated in.

She was under house arrest during Myanmar’s 1990 general election, which the NLD won by a landslide before they were blocked from assuming power by the former junta.

Myanmar held its next election two decades later on November 7, 2010, bringing to power the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party. That election was boycotted by the NLD.

Since coming to power, Myanmar’s new President Thein Sein has taken a conciliatory stance towards Suu Kyi, initiating a dialogue with the Nobel laureate in August last year, and paving the way for her NLD to re-enter Myanmar politics.

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