News24

Suu Kyi's party set for return to politics

2011-11-17 13:37

Yangon - Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party is expected to announce its return to the official political arena on Friday after years of marginalisation by ruling generals.

About 100 senior members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) are to gather in Yangon to discuss re-registering as a political party, the latest in a string of developments since an election last November - Myanmar's first in 20 years.

Analysts say the NLD's return would add to the legitimacy of the army-backed government, which is seeking to end its global isolation by loosening political shackles - but also increase the relevancy of the popular but long-excluded Suu Kyi.

Change

"With or without Suu Kyi, as we see, Burma [Myanmar] is moving along. This is her chance to be part of that change," said Pavin Chachavalpongpun, research fellow at the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

The NLD swept to election victory in 1990 but the junta stopped the party taking office, and it boycotted last year's vote mainly because of rules that would have forced it to expel imprisoned members. Suu Kyi was under house arrest at the time.

The Nobel peace prize winner, who has spent 15 of the last 22 years in detention, was released a few days after the widely discredited 2010 poll and now appears to be planning an entrance to the mainstream political process.

"The NLD is likely to register and also Daw Suu is likely to participate at the coming by-election," Nyan Win, a party spokesperson told AFP at the weekend, using Daw as a term of respect.

It is not yet clear when a by-election will be held, but there are more than 40 seats available in parliament's two chambers.