Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition took its first step towards a return to mainstream Myanmar politics on Friday, days before a historic visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) applied to officially re-register as a political party — after boycotting last year's much-criticised parliamentary election — amid signs of reform in a country long dominated by the military.
Ms. Clinton will travel to Myanmar on Wednesday to make the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of State in 50 years to try to boost what President Barack Obama has called “flickers” of progress.
Myanmar, ruled for decades by a repressive junta and isolated on the world stage, has seen promising changes since the November 2010 vote brought to power a nominally civilian government, albeit one with close links to the military.
Ex-general Thura Shwe Mann, Speaker of the Lower House of Myanmar's Parliament and considered one of the most powerful men, said on Friday Myanmar wanted a “regular relationship” with Washington.
The administration has surprised observers with a series of reformist moves, including holding talks with Ms. Suu Kyi, passing a law giving workers the right to strike and releasing hundreds of political prisoners. — AFP