|"The struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma is a struggle for life and dignity." |
- - - Aung San Suu Kyi
Burma's (Myanmar's) new government, which came to power in March, has made a series of reformist moves in an apparent attempt to improve its international standing.
These included releasing some of the country's many political prisoners, suspending construction of an unpopular Chinese-backed mega-dam and holding peace talks with the country's main armed ethnic groups, reports Channel Asia News.
NEW ELECTIONS - Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who officially registered her opposition party earlier this month, 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, 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.
A total of 48 seats are up for grabs - 40 in the lower house, six in the upper house and two in the regional assemblies.
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. The number of available seats is not 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.
(Channel News Asia)