Suu Kyi party launches Myanmar political comeback

Suu Kyi party launches Myanmar political comeback

The National League for Democracy (NLD) applied to officially re-register as a political party -- after boycotting last year's much-criticised parliamentary election -- amid signs of reform in a country long dominated by the military.

Clinton will travel to Myanmar on Wednesday to make the first visit by a US secretary of state in 50 years to try to boost what President Barack Obama has called "flickers" of progress.

Myanmar, ruled for decades by a repressive junta and isolated on the world stage, has seen promising changes since the November 2010 vote brought to power a nominally civilian government, albeit one with close links to the military.

Ex-general Thura Shwe Mann, the speaker of the lower house of Myanmar's parliament and considered one of the most powerful men in the current regime, said today Myanmar wanted a "regular relationship" with Washington.

The new administration has surprised many observers with a series of reformist moves, including holding talks with Suu Kyi, passing a law giving workers the right to strike and releasing hundreds of political prisoners.

Jim Della-Giacoma, South East Asia Project Director at the International Crisis Group, said the NLD's return to the fray marked the beginning of a new era in Myanmar politics.