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Myanmar: A nation 'at the beginning of a road,' ahead of parliamentary elections

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Burmese feed the seagulls at a jetty along the Yangon river ahead of the parliamentary elections on March 29, in Yangon, Myanmar. The upcoming vote is seen as an important vote of confidence for the country as it continues on the road to political and diplomatic reform. Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has fallen ill while campaigning for Myanmar's upcoming by-elections and has currently suspended her tour days ahead of the polls according to medical advice.

Barbara Walton / EPA

A Burmese seller adjusts t-shirts supporting the vote for Aung San Suu Kyi, democracy campaigner and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, at a shop in Yangon, Myanmar, on 29 March. A new wave of reform in Myanmar is taking place ahead of parliamentary by-elections scheduled for 01 April, in which Aung San Suu Kyi will contest in the rural constituency of Kawmhu, south of Yangon. Her father General Aung San, who was assassinated by rivals in 1947, is seens on T-shirt on the right.

Reuters reports -- Aung San Suu Kyi, the long-time standard-bearer for democracy in Myanmar, is taking a leap of faith in running for parliament on Sunday, opting to enter a political system crafted and run by the soldiers who kept her locked up for a total of 15 years.

Her party's participation in this weekend's by-elections marks a change of heart for the Nobel Peace Prize winner who repeatedly rebuffed the military's attempts to bring her into a political apparatus in which it dictated the terms.

But since a general election in November 2010, followed by Suu Kyi's release from house arrest the same month, the pace of change in the former Burma under a nominally civilian government has been staggering, enough to convince her to compromise with the apparently reform-minded ex-generals now in charge.

Christophe Archambault / AFP - Getty Images

Commuters cross the Yangon river in Yangon on March 29. More than two decades after its stolen election win, Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party is set for a dramatic political comeback in Myanmar polls which could herald an easing of sanctions.

Some Burmese fear it is a deal with the devil that will serve mainly to endorse a military-dominated legislature.

Suu Kyi is keeping an open mind.

"Some are a little bit too optimistic about the situation. We are cautiously optimistic. We are at the beginning of a road," the 66-year-old Suu Kyi said last month.

"Many people are beginning to say that the democratization process here is irreversible. It's not so."

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Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

A Burmese monk rides a city bus as a young boy looks on ahead of the parliamentary elections on March 29, in Yangon, Myanmar. The upcoming vote is seen as an important vote of confidence for the country as it continues on the road to political and diplomatic reform. Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has fallen ill while campaigning for Myanmar's upcoming by-elections and has currently suspended her tour days ahead of the polls according to medical advice.

Christophe Archambault / AFP - Getty Images

Pendants carrying portraits of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her father General Aung San are displayed for sale at the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon on March 29. More than two decades after its stolen election win, Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party is set for a dramatic political comeback in Myanmar polls which could herald an easing of sanctions.

Christophe Archambault / AFP - Getty Images

Residents walk past shops selling bananas in Yangon on March 29. More than two decades after its stolen election win, Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party is set for a dramatic political comeback in Myanmar polls which could herald an easing of sanctions.