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Suu Kyi's party granted legal status for Myanmar elections

The Myanmar government announced Tuesday that the political party of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi [JURIST news archive] will be allowed to register for the next elections. Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy (NLD) [party website] decided last month to reenter politics after boycotting last year's elections in which Suu Kyi was not allowed to run. The move may allow Suu Kyi to run for parliament after being detained under house arrest for nearly eight years. A date for the next elections has not yet been set.

Myanmar has made a series of reforms following a transfer of power from a military regime to a civil system in March after holding its first elections in 20 years. In October US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell indicated that Myanmar's civilian-led government was planning dramatic changes including releasing hundreds of political prisoners [JURIST report] and consequential dialogue with Suu Kyi. Myanmar's government formed a national human rights commission [JURIST report] in September to promote and safeguard the country's constitutional rights. In August, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana urged the government of Myanmar to investigate human rights abuses [JURIST report] and improve its rights record. In May, Myanmar began releasing as many as 15,000 prisoners [JURIST report] as part of an amnesty program after a visit from a special envoy from the UN secretary-general, but rights groups claim the government has not gone far enough.

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