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Asia-pacific

Suu Kyi to take seat in Burma parliament April 23

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-09

Burmese pro-democracy icon and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will take her seat in parliament for the first time on April 23, along with 37 of her fellow National League for Democracy members who won by-elections last month.

AFP - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will take her seat in parliament for the first time on April 23, her party said on Monday, following her milestone election to political office.

The veteran dissident's National League for Democracy (NLD), which won 43 seats in April 1 by-elections, will be the main opposition force in a national parliament dominated by the military and its political allies.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win said the Nobel laureate would travel to the capital Naypyidaw by April 22 in time to attend a new session of the lower house the following day. Parliament has been in recess since March 23.

Suu Kyi's election to political office marks the latest sweeping change in the country formerly known as Burma after decades of outright military rule ended last year.

The pro-democracy leader spent 15 of the past 22 years locked up by the former junta and was released in late 2010 just days after a controversial election won by the military's political proxies.

Myanmar's quasi-civilian government has announced a surprising series of reforms over the past year, such as releasing hundreds of political prisoners and welcoming the opposition back into mainstream politics.

Suu Kyi said during recent campaigning that her main goals as a lawmaker would be to work towards rule of law, national peace and an amendment of the junta-drafted constitution to make it more democratic.

Observers say she will also have to buckle down to tackling everyday issues in parliament such as agriculture, investment and the national budget.

The NLD won 37 seats in the 440-seat lower house in this month's polls, along with four in the upper house and two in the regional chambers.

One quarter of the seats are reserved for unelected military officials.

The NLD swept to a landslide election victory in 1990, when Suu Kyi was in detention, but the junta never recognised the result.

Observers say the regime now needs Suu Kyi in parliament to bolster the legitimacy of its political system and spur an easing of Western sanctions.

The United States announced last week it would ease selected sanctions, including by-elrestrictions on investment to Myanmar, but said measures would stay in place against those opposed to reform.

Date created : 2012-04-09

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