Myanmar opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, applied on Friday to re-register to contest an upcoming by-election.

Ms. Suu Kyi and 20 other members made the submission in the capital, Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of Yangon, a spokesman for the NLD said.

The international community has welcomed the NLD’s decision as an important gesture of rapprochement between the government and the opposition party, which boycotted the November 7 polls last year.

In August, President Thein Sein invited Ms. Suu Kyi to Naypyitaw for private talks. In recent months, parliament has passed a liberal labour law, made changes to facilitate the NLD’s re-registration and on Thursday passed legislation allowing citizens to protest peacefully.

The new regime has also freed more than 300 political prisoners and loosened controls on the press.

Ms. Suu Kyi hoped the government would release more prisoners of conscience before she announces her decision to contest the polls, NLD sources said.

The by-election, expected in January, is to replace members of parliament who resigned in April to take up cabinet positions.

The NLD disbanded after the party boycotted the November poll rather than bow to new legislation from the former ruling military junta that effectively banning it from running with Ms. Suu Kyi as its leader.

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