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Burma "seriously considers" allowing ASEAN observers to monitor elections

Allowing observers would "boost transparency" and "add to international goodwill"

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Burma's President Thien Sein says he will seriously ASEAN observers monitor by elections in April (Chris McGrath/AFP/Getty Images)

Burma's President, Thein Sein, says he will "seriously consider" allowing election observers to monitor the April by-elections.

The announcement was made in a statement, released shortly after talks between the president and the Secretary-General of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan.

"We will seriously consider having observers from ASEAN during the April elections," Thein Sein was quoted as saying by Australia Network News.

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ASEAN is comprised of Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Indonesia's Jakarta Post reports that the men agreed that allowing the observers would "boost transparency, which will add to the international goodwill that Myanmar has attracted so far."

Foreign election observers and international media were not allowed into the country for the last elections in 2010, Thailand's Bangkok Post says.  Those polls brought the army's political allies to power, and were marred by widespread complaints of cheating and intimidation.

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Voice of America comments that Thein Sein's "apparent concession" to ASEAN "is the latest in a series of signs that Burma's government is anxious to send a positive signal to the world through the by-elections".

Earlier this week, the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party, who boycotted the 2010 polls, confirmed they were putting forward candidates for all 48 parliamentary seats being contested in the upcoming by-elections, CNN reports.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120221/burma-seriously-considers-allowing-asean-observers-monitor