SG-MV8

Myanmar has invited the ASEAN Secretariat to send a five-member Observer Delegation, accompanied by three media personnel, to observe the 1 April 2012, By-Election. Further, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has also invited two Members of Parliament, accompanied by three media representatives, from each ASEAN Member State.

In its invitation letter to the ASEAN Secretariat, Myanmar requested the teams to arrive in Yangon on 28 March, to attend a briefing the following day.

The April By-Election has attracted numerous attention. Myanmar has urged relevant countries to lift their sanctions, and allow the country to pursue its development, and to improve the living standards of its people.

Forty-eight Parliamentary seats have been left vacant as former Members were appointed to fill Cabinet posts and other executive positions in the Union Government.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the Opposition Party, National League for Democracy (NLD), has decided to contest the By-Election in one constituency near Yangon. The NLD also fields candidates in all other vacant constituencies.

Last month–in response to the recommendation of ASEAN Secretary-General, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, during his visit–President Thein Sein said, “We will seriously consider having observers from ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat during the April elections.”

The two leaders agreed that such a move would boost transparency, which will add to the international goodwill that Myanmar had attracted so far.