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  • » 01/30/2012, 00.00


    Tens of thousands attend Aung San Suu Kyi’s first election rally outside Yangon

    The opposition leader on a visit to Tavoy, a town on the coast where she held a rally ahead of the vote on April 1. The Nobel Laureate calls for a "free and fair" vote and invites the population to ensure no undue pressure. Slogans and chants ring out for the "Lady".
    Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tens of thousands of people welcomed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, to the first political appointment of a public nature outside Yangon. The rally yesterday in Tavoy (Dawei), a coastal town of more than 600 km from the economic and financial center of Myanmar, is part of the Nobel Laureate’s campaign trail ahead of the April 1 election. The Burmese will go to the polls for the second round of parliamentary elections, for 48 seats vacated by officials who now hold ministerial roles. The streets were literally flooded with people, who waved flags and chanted, with dances and songs dedicated to the "Lady", an icon of democratic struggle in the country.

    Speaking to her supporters, the NLD leader stressed that she had "chosen the right place" to start her election tour. Popular participation is important for a "free and fair" vote so that "there are no changes to votes or threats." In the one-day visit to Dawei, the 66 year-old Aung San Suu Kyi saidshe expected "more stability" and the ability to create "many opportunities" for development. Meanwhile, the crowd loudly chanted phrases and slogans of support including "Long life to the Lady."

    The possibility for the democratic opposition leader to run for a seat in Parliament is just the latest in a series of reforms implemented by the new government in Myanmar, ruled for over 50 years by a strict military dictatorship. The Executive - while comprising many former generals and senior army officers - came to power last year, following the November 2010 elections characterized by the absence of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose sentence under house arrest expired in the weeks following the vote.

    Since then, the regime has launched a series of reforms, including the reinstatement of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the national political landscape, the achievement of a ceasefire with the rebel ethnic groups and the release of several hundred political prisoners. Western nations are considering the possibility of removing the economic and trade sanctions which have targeted Myanmar for more than two decades. April's vote represents an important test for the Burmese government and a possible development of international relations.

    Yesterday's rally was Aung San Suu Kyi’s first outside Yangon, but the NLD leader had already made a "political" tour last year to Pegu, under strict security measures for fear of attacks. The "Lady" spent 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest for her fight for democracy in Myanmar. In 2003, during a brief moment of freedom, a convoy of Suu Kyi was ambushed, many believe it was orchestrated by a former military junta leader who wanted to undermine her popularity.

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    See also

    10/03/2010 MYANMAR
    ”Ad personam" law excludes Aung San Suu Kyi from 2010 elections
    The military leadership has promulgated a law that prevents the candidacy of those who have criminal convictions. It is included in the Political Parties Registration Law, which governs the vote. The parties have 60 days to register. Elections a pretext to strengthen the power of the dictatorship.

    30/08/2010 MYANMAR
    Top members of Burmese junta resign ahead of elections, but power remains with military
    Ahead of November 7 elections General Than Shwe reported to have cast off uniform, while retaining control of the country. But no official confirmation. The new president chosen by Parliament, where Constitution grants a quarter of the seats to military.

    09/07/2015 MYANMAR
    November 8 date for first democratic elections since 1990
    The parties in the running include the ruling military junta (USDP) and the NLD, led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel Laureate, however, has been excluded from the race for president, the highest office in the country.

    10/11/2010 MYANMAR – INDIA
    People won’t put up with vote “farce” and rigged elections, says Burmese monk
    Ashin Panna Siri, who fled to India in 2008 after a year in prison, said elections were “one-sided and unfair”. He hopes monks will play a greater role to “mobilise public opinion”. They must “help alleviate the suffering of the people”. Myanmar security forces preparing for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release next Saturday. Last word falls to Senior General Than Shwe.

    08/03/2008 MYANMAR
    Military junta: no concession, but attacks against the UN representative
    The junta refuses to make any concession to Gambari, and accuses him of wanting to favour Suu Kyi and of having "endangered" peace and stability in the country.

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