Myanmar votes in historic election; spotlight on Suu Kyi

April 1, 2012 06:49


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YANGON - Myanmar votes on Sunday in its third election in half a century, a crucial test of its nascent reform credentials that could propel opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi into parliament and convince the West to end sanctions.

The United States and European Union have hinted that economic sanctions - imposed years ago in response to human rights abuses - may be lifted if the election is free and fair, unleashing a wave of investment in the impoverished but resource-rich country bordering rising powers India and China.

Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner held for 15 years under house arrest until 2010, complained last week of "irregularities", though none significant enough to derail her party's bid for 44 of 45 by-election seats.

"We're happy to see that everything is going peacefully and we hope that the whole day can be run in a peaceful way," said Ivo Belet, a member of the European parliament who is in Myanmar to observe the election.

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