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Politics

Myanmar to hold special election by year-end

YANGON -- Myanmar plans to hold a by-election to fill vacancies in its parliament in November or December, a state-run newspaper reported Friday.

     It would mark the second national election since the Southeast Asian nation began a democratization process in the spring of 2011.

     Up for grabs will be 19 of the total of 664 seats in the upper and lower houses.

     The most recent national election was a by-election held in the spring of 2012. In that race, the main opposition party National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won in a landslide by taking 43 of the 45 seats. Since then, however, public support for the government led by President Thein Sein has grown for solid management of the country's economy.

     The upcoming poll will be a prelude to a general election and presidential contest slated for 2015. The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is linked to the military junta that ruled the country, and the National League for Democracy are expected to engage in a fierce battle in those polls. They will be closely watched as other countries look for clues as to which direction the country's democratization will take.

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