Myanmar’s main opposition party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi decided Friday to register for future elections, signalling its confidence in recent political reforms by the military-aligned government.
The National League for Democracy party “has unanimously decided to re-register as a political party ... and will run in the elections,” said a party statement issued at the end of a meeting of senior members from all across the country.
Earlier, member after member, including Ms. Suu Kyi, spoke out in favour of joining the political arena because of a series of reforms initiated by the nominally civilian, but military-aligned government, which have met cautious approval of even its most bitter critic, the United States.
The NLD refused to register last year because of a restriction that would have prevented Ms. Suu Kyi from running. The restriction was lifted this year by the government that took office following the November 2010 elections held by a long-ruling military junta as part of its promise to restore democracy and relinquish power.
“Personally I am for re-registration,” Ms. Suu Kyi said in her speech to the delegates, gathered at the party headquarters in Yangon.
Any party that registers itself is required to run for at least three seats in the still unscheduled by-elections for the 48 vacant seats in Parliament. The legislature comprises 224 members in the upper house and 440 members in the lower house.
“Instead of participating in three seats in the by-elections, I would prefer to take part in all 48 seats,” Ms. Suu Kyi said. When that happens, it would be the first electoral test of NLD’s popularity and that of Ms. Suu Kyi in more than two decades. It is likely that she would run.