Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi confirmed that she will run for a seat in parliament, her party said Tuesday, a move that will infuse April by-elections with legitimacy, star power and historic significance. Suu Kyi said last year that she would run for parliament but had appeared to backtrack since then. A victory would give the Nobel Peace Prize winner and longtime political prisoner a voice in parliament for the first time in her decades-long role as the country’s opposition leader.
She was under house arrest during November 2010 elections, which were boycotted by her National League for Democracy Party in part because she was barred from participating. The elections, Myanmar’s first in 20 years, replaced a ruling military junta with a government that remains strongly linked to the military but has taken steps toward easing decades of repression.
Suu Kyi’s decision to personally contest the April polls is the latest vote of confidence for government reforms that include the legalization of labor unions, increasing press freedom and opening a dialogue with Suu Kyi herself.