02/21/2012, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Government removes restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi election campaign

The opposition denounces the denial of public spaces for the "Lady’s" rally. Democrats spokesman a "significant change" and cause for cautious optimism. Burmese President gives go ahead to ASEAN observers for the vote of April 1.

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Burmese authorities have lifted restrictions on the election campaign, ahead of parliamentary by-elections of April 1 which will allocate 48 seats that are still vacant. The confirmation comes from the National League for Democracy (NLD), Burma's main opposition movement, which had recently denounced the denial of public spaces - including stadiums and sports fields - for rallies by Aung San Suu Kyi . In an interview with AFP, Nyan Win, NLD spokesman, speaks of a "significant change" and confirms the optimism for an election "under the banner of fair play."

Burmese opposition sources explain that the Electoral Commission (UEC) has contacted the NLD, to communicate that the ban on the use of sports fields "has been cancelled". In recent weeks, three meetings of Aung San Suu Kyi's rallies were cancelled or moved to other places because of the law that was still in force.

Domestic policy experts explain that the decision appears to give credit to the good intentions expressed by the "civil" government, engaged in a series of reforms to ensure greater democracy in Myanmar, a nation governed for decades by strict military dictatorship. April's elections represent a real test for both Naypyidaw, and the National League for Democracy, who deserted the vote in November 2010.

Meanwhile, President Thein Sein has announced at an ASEAN leader's summit - an Association that brings together 10 nations of South-East Asia, including Myanmar - that the country may allow observers of the block to monitor the April elections. In a meeting with the current ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, the Burmese head of State said he was "seriously interested" in considering the possibility of their presence. In face to face with the senior official of the association, Thein Sein also discussed the financial crisis and employment, the creation of a naval port and the creation of special industrial zones, to give greater impetus to the economy.

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