Top news: Voters in Myanmar are preparing to head to the polls this weekend for just the third election in last 50 years. Seventeen parties are competing for 45 seats in the country's 665-seat legislature.
Most closely watched will be formerly imprisoned democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. The NLD boycotted previous elections organized by the military government in 2010. In 1990, the NLD won a general election but the junta nullified the vote.
"I don't think we can consider it a genuinely free and fair election," Aung San Suu Kyi said of this year's contest, but said she would contest it nonetheless in order to raise public interest in politics.
The NLD's main rival will be the Union and Development Solidarity Party, which was organized by the military junta and holds most of the seats in the legislature. The elections will be interpreted as a test of the country's fledgling democratic reforms and an indicator of whether a planned general election in 2015 will be genuine.
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