01/18/2012, 00.00
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Yangon, hundreds of supporters turn out for Aung San Suu Kyi’s official registration

The opposition leaders registers in the electoral rolls. She is competing for a seat in Parliament in the constituency of Kawhmu, south-west of Yangon, one of the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis in 2008. A crowd observes the official registration, paying homage to the Nobel Laureate
Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning, hundreds of supporters accompanied Aung San Suu Kyi to witness her registration which will allow the opposition leaders to participate in the parliamentary by-elections scheduled for next April 1. The Nobel Laureate will compete for a seat in the House of Parliament, included in the lists of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the constituency of Kawhmu, south-west of Yangon. The vote was necessary to replace 48 vacant seats, after a group of deputies elected in November 2010 took up ministerial or government positions. Analysts and policy experts explain that the Burmese NLD will compete for 40 seats, the elections are a "key test" to assess the weight of the opposition in the political reform in Burma and the credentials of the new government, composed of civilians, but still supported by the military, the real "hard power" in Myanmar.

The town of Kawhmu is one of the areas hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, which sowed death and destruction, killing at least 138 thousand people in Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta region. Upon registration, the "Lady" made no official statements, but was greeted by hundreds of people in a crowd outside the makeshift offices.

For the first time the Nobel Laureate will participate in a vote: she was under house arrest in 1990, when his party (NLD) won a landslide victory that was never recognized by the then ruling military junta. The opposition movement has thus boycotted the elections of November 2010, which saw the election of President Thein Sein - supported by the army - and the transition to civilian rule.

In the last year the new administration has established a relationship of dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and changed the electoral law, opening the door to the NLD. Last week the government reached a historic ceasefire with the Karen rebels, who for 60 years have been fighting for greater autonomy, while tensions with the ethnic Kachin minority remain unresolved. On 13 January President Thein Sein also issued an amnesty, which led to the release of 300 prisoners including high profile political figures: the monk Ashin Gambira, leader of the Saffron Revolution in September 2007 and one of the leaders of 88 Generation Student Min Ko Naing.

Myanmar is still subject to economic and commercial sanctions by the United States, Canada and European Union. Among the major economic powers, only China, India and South Korea have promoted investment in the country. However, many leaders of the Western bloc welcomed the democratic progress promoted by the government and it is not excluded that there may be - in the near future - political incentives (Washington seems intent on re-establishing full diplomatic relations) and contributions at a commercial level.
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