Myanmar opposition to take part in general election Leader Aung San Suu Kyi says if National League for Democracy wins, will amend country's constitution which bars her from presidency

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

YANGON, Myanmar  – (AA) The Myanmar opposition party led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has announced it will take part in a general election in November that will test the country’s fraught transition from military dictatorship.

Suu Kyi told a press conference in the capital Nay Pyi Taw that if her National League for Democracy party wins it will amend the country’s constitution, which bars her from the presidency and grants the military unelected seats in parliament.

Senior party members met at Suu Kyi’s Nay Pyi Taw residence and decided to enter the election to help bring about “unfinished democratic reforms,” the Eleven Myanmar news website reported Sunday.

Until now Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders have maintained that the party may boycott the election, as it did in the 2010 poll that brought the current reformist government to power and was widely regarded as rigged.

The last time the NLD contested an election was in 1990, while Suu Kyi was under house arrest for her roll in a mass pro-democracy uprising against the military junta.

The NLD won that poll by a landslide but the military ignored the vote and continued to rule the country outright until 2011, when President Thein Sein and other former generals came to power.

Although his government is nominally civilian, the military still wields enormous power over the country. A quarter of all seats in parliament are reserved for unelected military officials, giving them an effective veto over any changes to the unpopular 2008 constitution.

The charter also states that no one with a foreign spouse or relatives can lead the country, a clause that was likely included as a way of ensuring Suu Kyi could not become president: her late husband was British as are her two sons.

The party has not named another candidate for president if it wins, but Suu Kyi said at the press conference Saturday that her party had “a plan” to deal with the problem. She declined to give further details.

She added that party may reach “an understanding” with a coalition of ethnic groups whereby each side agreed not to contest certain constituencies but that “we have not discussed this in detail yet,” the ElevenMyanmar report said.

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