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Burma lifts rally ban after Aung San Suu Kyi's party complains

Electoral authorities were quick to lift a rally ban after the National League for Democracy complained about restrictions.

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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi receives flowers from the crowds during campaigning in the Delta region on her second campaign trip on February 7, 2012 in Pathein, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, complained about restrictions on rallies and the election authorities responded quickly by lifting the bans. (Paula Bronstein/AFP/Getty Images)

Burma’s election authorities lifted a ban on campaign rallies on Monday, just hours after Aung San Suu Kyi's party complained that their campaign rally efforts were being impeded, according to Reuters.

National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Nyan Win said the party faced “many difficulties,” such as getting approval for public spaces to hold rallies in Burma, also known as Myanmar, reported the BBC.

Aung San Suu Kyi herself is running for one of the 48 parliamentary seats in April, after her party decided to take part in these elections following a sweep of democratic reforms instated by Burma’s nominally civilian government.

More on GlobalPost: Burma: An aging Aung San Suu Kyi appeals to young voters

Nyan Win said, “What we want is fair play, but the restrictions have increased lately. It is very difficult to say that the upcoming by-elections could be free and fair,” in a press conference in Rangoon, according to the BBC.

He also accused the country’s most powerful party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, of promising infrastructure and electricity upgrades that amounted to vote-buying, according to Reuters.

The NLD boycotted the 2010 elections, complaining of unfair voting rules, but Nyan Win said the NLD was committed to participating in the April 1 polls this year, reported Voice of America.

The Union Election Commission contacted the NLD just hours after the press conference to say that a ministerial order restricting some campaign rallies had been lifted, according to Reuters.

Nyan Win told the AFP, "They withdrew the restrictions. We can campaign freely," and added, "It's a very significant change. We are still hoping for fair play."

The military-backed government, led by President Thein Sein, a former general, has been making the case for sanctions imposed by the west to be lifted by instating political reforms, releasing political prisoners and negotiating cease fires with rebel groups.

More on GlobalPost: Burma: How real are new press freedoms?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120220/burma-lifts-rally-ban-after-aung-san-suu-kyis-party-compla