News

    Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi Expresses Doubts on Election’s Integrity

    Burma's parliamentary and by- elections

    • 45 seats in the national legislature are being contested.
    • 160 candidates from 17 parties and eight independents are running.
    • Legislature comprised of 440 seat lower house, 224 seat senate, 14 regional assemblies.
    • 25 percent of seats chosen by armed forces commander and reserved for military personnel.
    • The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won 76 percent of the vote in 2010.
    • Constitution limits lawmakers' powers.

    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expressing doubts about the fairness of Sunday’s by-elections, which are considered a crucial barometer of the government’s commitment to political reform. The Nobel Peace laureate held a news conference with journalists.

    Two days before the opening of the polls for Burma’s April 1st by-election, candidate Aung San Suu Kyi addressed journalists, diplomats, and observers at a news conference in the garden at her home.

    The pro-democracy leader fell ill last week after two months of nonstop campaigning across the country, where she had been greeted by thousands of adoring supporters. She said her grueling schedule has left her feeling physically “delicate,” but that would not deter her from spending the night in her constituency, the village of Kawhmu.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, who is favored to win her constituency, was quick to point out that the election cannot be termed free and fair.

    "As I said earlier, I don't think we can consider it a genuinely free and fair election if we take into consideration what has been going on in the last couple of months, but still as we wish to work towards national reconciliation we will try to tolerate what has happened and we hope the courage and resolution of the people will over come the intimidations and other irregularities that have been taking place."

    Ghost voting

    Election observers were not allowed to enter the country until just a week before the election. Opposition groups say voter lists have been stacked with the names of the dead, and some candidates and voters have been intimidated and bribed.

    Although Aung San Suu Kyi’s party chose not to participate in the last election because it was unfair, she insists that participating this time is a good idea. She said she does not feel that she has been used to legitimize the current government and help convince Western nations to lift sanctions. She said her party had two goals: to win all seats they are contending, and to help politically awaken the Burmese people.

    “It is the rising political awareness of our people which we regard as our greatest triumph," she said. "This has been most encouraging from all parts of the country. And we have been particularly encouraged by the participation of young people everywhere. This all bodes very well for the future of our country. And it shows that there’s great potential after decades of acquiescence one might expect that very few of our people would be in a position to take part in this process. But we have found that they are quick to wake up and quick to understand what the issues."

    View the timeline of Burma's major political events:

    Loading...



    'A vital step'

    Aung San Suu Kyi said she felt the elections would be a vital step toward national reconciliation. She referred in particular to conflict in Burma’s restive border areas, but seemed hopeful that resolution of the conflict is within reach.

    “We have been particularly encouraged by the response in the ethnic nationality states, in the Kachin State, in the Shan state and the Mon state. We have found that there is great potential for a true democratic union, because we do not find that there are any fundamental differences between what we want and what the people of the ethnic nationality states want. We are after all the Burmese, simply a majority among many ethnic nationality groups in Burma," she said.

    Her optimism came with a caveat, and she identified the cooperation of the military as a vital element to moving forward with reform.

    While she was outspoken on the vote’s credibility, Aung San Suu Kyi did not directly answer policy questions, explaining that she needs to first gain entry to parliament in the capital, Naypyitaw, before discussing her specific goals there.

    A Look at Some of Burma's Key Political Parties

    National League for Democracy


    • Aung San Suu Kyi's party was founded in 1988 after a popular uprising
    • Won the 1990 parliamentary elections in a landslide but results never recognized by the military regime
    • Boycotted 2010 elections and was stripped of legal party status
    • Contesting 44 seats

    Union Solidarity and Development Party


    • Current ruling party
    • Formed by current President Thein Sein and other members of military junta
    • Won vast majority in 2010 election
    • Contesting all 45 seats
    • It will retain its majority in parliament regardless of the results

    National Democratic Force


    • Formed by breakaway NLD members
    • Won several seats in the 2010 election
    • Contesting about 10 seats

    Shan Nationalities League for Democracy


    • The second largest winning party in the 1990 elections
    • Boycotted the 2010 elections
    • Often sides with Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party

    Shan Nationalities Democratic Party


    • Widely known as the White Tiger Party
    • Won 57 seats in the 2010 elections
    • Contesting seats in only a handful of constituencies

    National Unity Party


    • Formed bythe military junta and members of the former Burma Socialist Program Party
    • Defeated badly by the NLD in 1990 elections
    • Fielded the second highest number of candidates in the 2010 election but defeated badly again
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: saw tin tin soe
    March 31, 2012 12:19 AM
    wharever it is,I wish Daw suu and her party's members to win most of the seats in this election because of their long term sacricfices for myanmar people .It is obvious that those people with genuine heart and soul for the good of myanmar people can do such kind of sacrifices.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora