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Burma Sets By-Election for April 1


Burma is set to hold a by-election April 1 in a vote in that will test democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.

Burmese government officials, who asked not to be named, informed media organizations of the election date Friday. Forty-eight parliamentary seats will be at stake. The officials said parties intending to take part in the vote need to submit their list of candidates no later than January 31.

Aung San Suu Kyi formally registered her National League for Democracy as a political party last week, clearing the way for her to run in the election. She has not yet announced the constituency in which she expects to run.

The NLD was stripped of its status as a party last year because it refused to participate in controversial national elections, in which the popular democracy advocate was not permitted to run.

The election produced a new government which, while still dominated by past and present military officers, has implemented a series of reforms including loosened press restrictions and the beginning of dialogue with its critics.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD were overwhelming winners in Burma's 1990 election, but were never permitted to take office. The Nobel peace laureate spent most of the years since then under house arrest.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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