Myanmar's Suu Kyi registers as candidate for parliament seat

 Aung San Suu Kyi registers to run as a candidate in upcoming by-elections on the outskirts of Yangon on January 18, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Suu Kyi will contest for a seat in Kawhmu
  • Western governments have applauded the effort
  • The regime has pledged to pursue a peace deal
Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi registered Wednesday to run for a parliamentary seat in the military-run country.
Suu Kyi will contest for a seat in Kawhmu, where supporters clapped and gave her flowers after she turned in her paperwork for the April election.
The move by the Nobel Peace Prize winner comes after the regime pledged to pursue a peace deal with an ethnic rebel group and pardoned hundreds of political prisoners as part of national reconciliation.
Western governments have applauded the effort, with the United States sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country last month -- the first top U.S. diplomat in the nation in more than five decades.
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And this month, Suu Kyi met with William Hague, the first British foreign secretary to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years.
Myanmar has been ruled by a military junta since 1962, but the generals are loosening their grip on the country after coming under criticism for their human rights record.
Suu Kyi was under house arrest in 1990 when her party, the National League for Democracy, won the election by a landslide, but the military junta rejected the results.
She was released in November 2010 after spending most of the past 20 years under house arrest or in prison. Her release came days after the nation's first election in two decades.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has said it will have a roster of 23 candidates in this year's election.
Forty-eight seats are up for grabs in the April 1 election.