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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     9 November  2011

Suu Kyi’s party considers rejoining politics

Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party said on Tuesday that more than 100 senior members would gather in Yangon next week to decide whether to rejoin the official political arena.

The National League for Democracy (NLD), delisted last year for boycotting a rare election, will consider re-registering as a political party on November 18, after Myanmar's president last week approved changes to related laws.

"More than 100 members of the central committee from around the country will attend," NLD spokesman Han Thar Myint said after a meeting of the highest level members at Suu Kyi's house in Yangon.

"We will ask them for their opinion on whether to register and then decide."

The NLD won a 1990 election but was never allowed to take office. It shunned last year's vote largely because of rules that would have forced it to expel imprisoned members. Suu Kyi was under house arrest at the time.

She was released a few days after last November's poll, which was widely condemned as a farce by the West and marred by claims of cheating.

While Myanmar is now ruled by a nominally civilian government, its ranks are filled with former generals.

The new military-backed administration has surprised critics with a series of reformist moves, such as defying ally China by freezing work on an unpopular mega-dam in the north, and holding direct talks with Suu Kyi.

An amendment to a law on political parties, endorsed by President Thein Sein on Friday, also removed the condition that all parties must agree to "preserve" the country's 2008 constitution, according to state media.

Suu Kyi - who strongly criticised the constitution, part of what the regime called its "road map to democracy" - is expected to hold a press conference on Monday to mark the first anniversary of her release.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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