/ 23 December 2011

Burma’s Suu Kyi takes first step in party registration

Burma's Suu Kyi Takes First Step In Party Registration

Democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi was due to visit Burma’s Parliament for the first time on Friday to meet with the powerful lower house speaker, her party said.

In the capital Naypyidaw to sign papers as part of her opposition group’s re-registration as a political party, Suu Kyi was set to meet Shwe Mann, third-ranking in the previous ruling junta, said a parliamentary official.

“Both speakers of the lower house and the upper house will meet Suu Kyi this afternoon. They will meet at the Parliament,” the official said, declining to be named.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) was given the green light from authorities this month to rejoin mainstream politics, paving the way for the Nobel laureate to run for a seat in the new Parliament.

The NLD was stripped of its status as a legal political party by the junta last year after it chose to boycott a rare and controversial election, saying the rules were unfair.

Suu Kyi was released a few days after the November poll, having spent much of the past two decades in detention, and she is now planning to take part in by-elections expected early next year although no polling date has been set.

Since coming to power in March, the new military-backed government, dominated by former generals, has made a series of reformist moves in an apparent attempt to reach out to political opponents and the West.

Suu Kyi expressed cautious hope earlier this month that democracy would come to Burma, as she welcomed Hillary Clinton to the home in Yangon city that was her prison for years during a landmark visit by the US Secretary of State.

The NLD won an election in 1990 by a landslide, while Suu Kyi remained under house arrest, but the ruling generals never allowed the party to take power. — AFP