July 11, 2015 / 12:57 PM / 2 years ago

Myanmar's Suu Kyi says party will run in election

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi gives speech during her during her door-to-door visits for voter education campaign at Warheinkha village in her constituency town Khawhmu, outside Yangon on July 4, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Saturday her party would contest a national election in November, ending months of uncertainty about its participation in a vote that will be crucial for the scope of the country’s reforms.

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi has laid the groundwork for running in the Nov. 8 parliamentary poll, but her National League for Democracy (NLD) had held out until now to commit to a ballot that is being billed as Myanmar’s first legitimate election in 25 years.

“This decision to run in the election was made to continue the unfinished democratization process for the country,” Suu Kyi told a news conference in the capital Naypyitaw.

“If the NLD won the election, national reconciliation will be the first priority. To make a country develop, stability in politics, economy and in various sectors are very important. If the NLD runs the government, we will prioritize this.”

The NLD won Myanmar’s last free and fair election in 1990 in a landslide, but the result was ignored by the then ruling military, which ceded power in 2011.

The NLD boycotted a 2010 poll held under military rule.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which is dominated by military and civil servants who retired to become candidates, will be the NLD’s biggest opponent.

Suu Kyi was under house arrest at the time of 2010 vote, but was released six days later. The NLD eventually agreed to join the quasi-civilian system in 2012, winning 42 house seats in a by-election. Suu Kyi will run in the constituency of Kawhmu, a delta town outside the biggest city Yangon.

The NLD is expected to do well in an election which will determine representatives of the bicameral parliament and regional chambers for five-year terms.

The ballot will decide three-quarters of parliamentary seats, with a quarter reserved for the military, which appoints those lawmakers from within its ranks.

The newly formed upper and lower houses will nominate and vote on who will be president later.

Suu Kyi’s own presidential aspirations are curtailed by a clause in the constitution that bars individuals with children holding foreign citizenship from becoming head of state.

She said if the NLD won in a landslide, it would ensure the next president was suitable.

“We will make an arrangement for presidency which the people can accept,” she said.

Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin; Editing by Martin Petty and Jane Merriman

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