#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 8°C Sunday 25 October 2020
Advertisement

Aung San Suu Kyi claims victory in Burma election

The long-persecuted opposition leader could be set to take office in the isolated country for the first time.

Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at her party headquarters this morning
Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at her party headquarters this morning
Image: AP Photo/Khin Maung Win

AUNG SAN SUU Kyi has claimed victory in Myanmar’s historic by-election, saying she hoped it would mark the beginning of a new era for the long-repressed country.

Suu Kyi spoke to thousands of cheering supporters who gathered outside her opposition party headquarters this morning, a day after her party declared she had won a parliamentary seat in the closely watched vote.

The Election Commission has not yet confirmed the results, but government officials have commented on Suu Kyi’s victory and the people of Myanmar have reacted with jubilation.

“The success we are having is the success of the people,” Suu Kyi said, as a sea of supporters chanted her name and thrust their hands into the air to flash “V” for victory signs.

“It is not so much our triumph as a triumph of the people who have decided that they have to be involved in the political process in this country,” she said. “We hope this will be the beginning of a new era.”

If confirmed, Suu Kyi will take public office for the first time and lead a small bloc of lawmakers from her opposition National League for Democracy in Myanmar’s military-dominated Parliament.

The victory would mark a major milestone in the Southeast Asian nation, which is emerging from a ruthless era of military rule, and also an astonishing reversal of fortune for a woman who became one of the world’s most prominent prisoners of conscience.

This Voice of America video shows scenes of celebration in Rangoon:

YouTube/VOAvideo

Nay Zin Latt, an adviser to President Thein Sein, told The Associated Press he was “not really surprised that the NLD had won a majority of seats” in the by-election. Asked if Suu might be given a Cabinet post, he said: “Everything is possible. She could be given any position of responsibility because of her capacity.”

Unofficial counts continued to trickle in Monday from poll watchers within Suu Kyi’s party, and spokesman Han Than said the opposition had won at least 43 of the 44 parliament seats it had contested.

The former junta had kept Suu Kyi imprisoned in her lakeside home for the better part of two decades. When she was finally released in late 2010, just after a general election that was deemed by most as neither free nor fair, few could have imagined she would so quickly make the leap from democracy advocate to elected official — opening the way for a potential presidential run in 2015.

Hoping to convince the international community of its progress, Myanmar invited dozens of Western and Asian election observers to monitor the vote and granted visas to hundreds of foreign journalists.

Suu Kyi herself said Friday that campaigning had been marred by irregularities and could not be considered fair — allegations her party reiterated yesterday.

Malgorzata Wasilewska, head of the European Union’s observer team, called the voting process “convincing enough” but stopped short of declaring it credible yet. “In the polling stations that I visited … I saw plenty of good practice and good will, which is very important,” she said.

- Additional reporting by Michael Freeman

More: Suu Kyi poised for by-election success in Burma>

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS