By elections in April
The Burmese government has set the date for long expected by elections to take place on 1st April 2012.
The elections will fill vacancies for 40 seats in the lower House of Representatives or Pyithu Hluttaw (440 seats), six seats in the upper House of Nationalities or Amyotha Hluttaw (224 seats) and two for regional assemblies.
The party of Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD) re-registered on 23rd December and will contest the elections. The NLD won the 1990 elections with an overwhelming majority but was barred from taking up its seats by the military. Fresh elections were held in 2010 but were boycotted by the NLD and it is only recent events that has seen a change of heart.
The parliament or Assembly of the Union (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw) is dominated by the military and political parties close to the military. A new civilian government has been put in place since the 2010 elections and there has been a relaxation in some areas of society including releasing political prisoners. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest earlier this year and has been allowed a high degree of freedom from a regime which, at one time, would tolerate no dissent.