Yangon: Myanmar has sent out a surprisingly
broad guest list for elections Sunday, hoping to showcase its
democratic credentials to the world.
The by-election is likely to mark a symbolic turning
point by bringing opposition leader and Nobel peace laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi into Parliament for the first time, an event
that would raise hopes for a more representative government
after a half-century of repressive military rule.
However, with less than 10 percent of the chambers` seats
contested, the polling will not shift power away from the
military-dominated ruling party. Still, the government hopes
foreign observers endorse the polling to help lift the
country`s pariah status.
Myanmar has invited each of its neighbors in the
10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc to send
a pair of observers and extended the offer to ASEAN`s
so-called dialogue partners Australia, Canada, China, the
European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia
and the United States.
Uncharacteristically, the formerly hermetic country is
allowing the US and more than a dozen other countries to send
observers to monitor the vote boosting hopes that this will be
Myanmar`s freest and fairest election in decades.