A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Aung San Suu Kyi invited to make debut in Burma parliament – guardian.co.uk

In News, Politics on April 9, 2012 at 14:41

 Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi invited to make debut in Burma parliament 

The Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been invited to make her debut in parliament in two weeks’ time after landslide byelection victories for her and other party members.

Nyan Win, a party spokesman, said Aung San Suu Kyi and 36 other National League for Democracy (NLD) candidates who won parliament seats had been asked to go to the capital, Naypyitaw, for the resumption of the house session, which had been expected to exclude the newly elected members.

The 66-year-old Nobel peace prize laureate’s appearance in Burma’s parliament will be seen as a significant step in the direction of democracy for a country that was ruled by repressive generals for five decades until a year ago.

The NLD won 43 of the 45 seats contested in the ballots on 1 April, dealing a blow to the ruling military-backed party, which won a general election in 2010 that was widely believed to have been rigged. The NLD boycotted that election.Nyan Win said: “NLD candidates elected for the lower house, including chairperson Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, will attend the lower house session due to resume on 23 April.” He said the NLD’s four new senators had yet to be contacted. The NLD also won two seats in regional assemblies.

The international community appears to have accepted that the byelections were free and fair, and several western countries – the US, France and Britain among them – have given strong hints of an imminent easing of some sanctions affecting investment and provision of financial services. The resumption of the parliamentary session on 23 April coincides with the expiry of EU sanctions. Diplomats say some restrictions, such as investment in certain sectors and visa bans, are likely to be dropped while others, such as arms bans and access to trade concessions, are expected to be maintained.

The polls were largely symbolic, seen as a rejection of the military’s powerful political role and as a public endorsement of Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years in detention because of her opposition to military rule.

 

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