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Myanmar opposition holds first party congress

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March 7, 2013 11:35 PM EST | AP

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YANGON, Myanmar — Nearly 900 representatives from Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy are gathering in Yangon to elect their party leadership for the first time in the party's 25-years history.

It is a sign of how far Myanmar has come with political reforms that Friday's gathering is allowed at all. It's also a test for the NLD, which is working to transform itself from a party of one into a structurally viable political opposition in time for national elections in 2015.

NLD officials hope the first all-party congress will make the structure and operations of the party more reflective of its democratic ideals and infuse its aging ranks with youth and expertise.

The congress is the culmination of over 17,000 local elections held across the country since mid-2012.