Suu Kyi intends to join Burma by-elections

Myanmar democracy leader, Auung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar democracy leader, Auung San Suu Kyi


YANGON — Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi plans to run in upcoming by-elections, her spokesman said on Monday, three days after her National League for Democracy (NLD) decided to rejoin the official political arena.


NLD spokesman Nyan Win told AFP: "Daw Suu said she intends to take part in the election." Daw is a term of respect in Myanmar. It will be the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s first time in competing in an election since 1990, when her total electoral victory was voided by generals determined on keeping their power.

It was on Friday when National League for Democracy (NLD) ended its boycott of the political process; the same day the military-dominated government received a seal of approval from Washington for nascent reforms. Suu Kyi’s decision comes after Myanmar won a powerful endorsement on Friday when US President Barack Obama announced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would visit the country in December becoming the first US secretary of state to visit Myanmar in 50 years. Clinton’s visit aims to encourage “flickers” of democratic reform in a country internationally isolated for decades.


President Thein Sein told a small group of Myanmar journalists in Indonesia on Saturday that he was happy about the NLD's plans to re-enter mainstream politics. According to the Myanmar Times, President Thein Sein stated: "I am very pleased at the decision and welcome (Suu Kyi) to enter parliament."

He added that his government has not yet scheduled any by-election dates, although discussing them was "something that we definitely need to do".

According to analysts, the NLD would add to the legitimacy of the army-backed government, which is currently seeking to end its global isolation, but also increase the importance of democratic champion Aung San Suu Kyi.

This post originally appeared on Asia Blog.