Myanmar’s Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Kicks off Campaigning for Myanmar’s Historic November 8th Election
YANGON – Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Myanmar’s opposition leader kicked off campaigning for Myanmar’s historic November 8 general election with a Facebook post one of many signs of how far the country and its most recognizable politician have come in a few years.
Aung San Suu Kyi is calling for vigorous international monitoring of her country’s November general elections that will be the first since decades of military rule ended there in 2011.
In a video message, Aung San Suu Kyi called the upcoming elections a crucial turning point for our country.
“For the first time in decades, our people will have a real chance of bringing about real change,” Suu Kyi said, in a message posted on her party’s Facebook page in Burmese and English. “We hope that the whole world understands how important it is for us to have free and fair elections”, Suu Kyi said.
More than 90 political parties will take part in the Parliamentary elections, which are being closely watched as the next step toward democracy in a country that was run by a repressive military junta for nearly half a century.
The polls will be the first since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011. But with the military still firmly in control of the process, there is widespread speculation as to whether the election will be free and fair.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who enjoys huge public support, is barred from running for president because of a controversial clause in the constitution but is seeking re-election to Parliament.
The constitution of Myanmar, also known as Burma, grants the military at least 25% of parliamentary seats, so the NLD and any allies will need to win at least two-thirds of the remaining seats in order to choose the next president.
Even if the NLD does win a parliamentary majority, the military is still guaranteed a veto over any constitutional change and its commander-in-chief will still control key ministerial appointments.
The last time the party took part in a national election was in 1990, and they won by a landslide. But the result was ignored by the military, which kept Ms Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 years.
The NLD boycotted the next nationwide poll in 2010, which was won by the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) despite widespread accusations of vote-rigging.
But a week after it was held Ms Suu Kyi was released and her party stood in 2012 by-elections, winning 43 of the 44 seats it contested, including her own.
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