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Parliament to debate Suu Kyi’s inclusion

Burma’s parliament is set to discuss a proposal made by the country’s election body that a law barring former political prisoners from playing a role in the government be overturned.

If successful, the amendment to the Political Party Registration Law, which was brought into force last year prior to the controversial November elections, could see individuals such as Aung San Suu Kyi become an MP.

But the spokesperson for her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), said that they would wait and see what the conditions of the amendment are before making a decision.

“It’s only a draft now and is yet to be approved,” says Nyan Win. “We might think about registration after looking at it, but I don’t want to say we will certainly do so until we have a meeting.”

The Union Election Commission’s (UEC) proposal however includes a clause that would allow newly-registered parties the same rights as existing parties, as long as they field candidates in at least three constituencies in the looming by-elections planned for later this year.

The elections in November last year were mired in controversy, particularly given the banning of Suu Kyi, whose party won the 1990 polls but was refused office. Rumours of her possible inclusion in parliament have been fuelled by a parliamentary chief Khin Aung Myint, who said she would be “welcome” to join.

Nyo Ohn Myint, from the NLD-Liberated Areas wing of the party, told DVB shortly after the announcement that while Suu Kyi may indeed be able to join the parliament, it’s unlikely she will hold a cabinet position and therefore would be out of any decision-making circles.

The request from the UEC may come as some surprise, given that it promulgated the highly restrictive laws that governed the elections last year, and which effectively ensured that the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party, led by President Thein Sein, would win an outright majority.

Although Nyo Ohn Myint said it was unlikely Suu Kyi would choose to compete in the by election, her rhetoric with regards to the government has changed markedly over the last few months, apparently in line with increasing signs of openness from Naypyidaw.

Additional reporting by Francis Wade.


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