Myanmar sets by-election date: Government official

Myanmar is to hold by-elections on April 1, a government official said today.

Last Updated: Dec 30, 2011, 21:04 PM IST

Yangon: Myanmar is to hold by-elections on
April 1, a government official said today, which could propel
democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi into the army-dominated
parliament.

"The by-election will be held on April 1," a Myanmar
government official who asked not to be named told a news agency.

Suu Kyi, who officially registered her opposition party a
week ago, has already said she intends to stand in the polls.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) was given the
green light by authorities to rejoin mainstream politics
earlier this month, but is waiting for official approval of
its application.

Suu Kyi, 66, has spent much of the past two decades in
detention and was released from house arrest a few days after
a controversial November 2010 general election.

The upcoming vote will offer her an opportunity to seek a
seat in a parliament that remains dominated by allies of the
former military junta.

Those who wish to take part will need to register between
January 16 and 31, said the Myanmar official, who added that
an announcement would be made by the Union Election
Commission.

The by-election is to fill seats vacated by those elected
in the November 2010 vote who have since become ministers and
deputy ministers in the government.

A total of 48 seats are expected to be up for grabs,
although this would not be enough to threaten the resounding
majority held by the ruling military-backed party.

One quarter of parliament`s seats are taken up by the
army while the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which
is packed with former military men, holds about 80 percent of
the remainder.

Further details of the by-elections are expected to be
announced in local newspapers on Saturday.

PTI