News

    Burma's Democracy Leader Hopes Election Win Brings New Era

    Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi looks on from behind the gates of the National League for Democracy (NLD) office as supporters and reporters gather, in Yangon, April 2, 2012.
    Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi looks on from behind the gates of the National League for Democracy (NLD) office as supporters and reporters gather, in Yangon, April 2, 2012.
    Daniel Schearf

    Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she hopes her and her party's win in Sunday's election ushers in a new era in Burma. Although she and her National League for Democracy will hold only a fraction of power in parliament, they are expected to be an active opposition to the military-backed government.

    Hundreds of supporters and media gathered outside Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy headquarters Monday morning to hear her give a brief victory speech.

    The party announced Sunday that she and her fellow NLD candidates swept Burma's by-election, winning almost all of the 45 seats up for grabs.

    If confirmed, the results would be a public rebuke of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which holds an overwhelming majority of parliament seats.

    The Nobel Prize winner pledges that when she and her party enter government after more than two decades in political exile, they will cooperate with all those willing to work for national reconciliation.

    Aung San Suu Kyi called Sunday’s vote a hopeful sign for democracy and reconciliation in Burma.

    "We hope that this will be the beginning of a new era where there will be more emphasis on the rule of the people in the everyday politics of our country,” she said.

    Aung San Suu Kyi said the NLD, once in parliament, would continue to push for the rule of law, an end to all ethnic conflicts, and amendments to the constitution.

    Amending the military-drafted constitution will be a challenge for the NLD.  Even if it wins all of the seats in Sunday's election it is still only about 7 percent of the several hundred filled by mainly with the military and its supporters.

    Those lawmakers have little incentive to support constitutional amendments.  The current constitution guarantees continued military dominance in government, reserving it a quarter of all seats in parliament.

    Suzanne DiMaggio, vice president of Global Policy Programs at the Asia Society, says despite the NLD's uphill challenge in parliament, the victory is still relevant.

    “In particular now, we have at least the beginning of opposition voices within the parliament - credible opposition voices - and I think this is the beginning of something that will only grow,” she said.

    DiMaggio says the election results show it is time for the United States to consider lifting economic sanctions against Burma.

    The U.S. and the European Union, among others, restrict trade with Burma because of its human rights record.  The EU trade commissioner on Monday said if the election proves to be free and fair the bloc would consider lifting sanctions at meetings in Brussels on April 21.

    The NLD on Friday said it did not expect the election to be free and fair.

    Aung San Suu Kyi said the NLD would publicize all irregularities that took place in order to ensure they are not overlooked.  The NLD pointed out names of dead people on voter registration lists as well as multiple voters using the same registration number.

    Some voters also complained of wax on voter ballots that did not allow them to be marked properly.

    War Thein Kha village in Kawtmu township is Aung San Suu Kyi's constituency.

    Ethnic Karen Minorities in the Kawhmu Township, War Thein Kha Village by Daniel Schearf

    The poor and remote village was thrust into the spotlight when Burma's most famous prisoner of conscience chose here to register her household.

    Nan Myat Myat Thu Win, 23, and her family run a small shop next to the house. She says she hopes Aung San Suu Kyi can help the village's unemployed but she acknowledges even with the election win the NLD would hold little power.

    She says, “at least she can present problems such as poverty to parliament.  Whether they are solved or not depends on the government.”

    Everyone in War Thein Kha who spoke with VOA counted themselves as Aung San Suu Kyi supporters.

    Ninety-five-year-old Daw Aye has lived in the village her whole life.  She says she loves Aung San Suu Kyi and would never vote for the military-backed USDP.

    “I don't like them [USDP] so I won't vote for them,” she said. “They have been ruling for a long time. So, it should be Aung San Suu Kyi's time.”

    The official election results are not expected for a few days.

    The current situation of Burma's ethnic minorities

    Loading...
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Romildo Caldas
    April 02, 2012 12:30 PM
    Burma's Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi recall us the Story of Queen Esther registered in the Bible. Aung is in Burma just for this Historical Event.

    by: Optimist
    April 02, 2012 9:53 AM
    Good news for the people of Myanmar and a victory for Democracy. This is a triumphant victory for world peace in that part of the world. wherever democracy triumphs the world heals a little bit more, and in that part of the world the world heals more than a little. What mystifies me most is, wherever US wants for genuine democracy to flourish they help prop up the suitable candidate to win, and in Ethiopia the US is helping a genocidal dictator to keep his post, just because it suites NEOCONS.

    by: Jai Tai
    April 02, 2012 8:19 AM
    I like to say thanks you on hehalf of Burmese, Shan, Karen and all monorities people in Burma to Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD, President Thein and his administration for giving amzaing opportunity to the people of Burma to have thier voices, freedom and hope. Withought their hard work and strong determination, Burma will never see the lights. Thank you!

    by: Cả Thộn
    April 02, 2012 6:43 AM
    Myanmar is in new era. Suu Kyi is a new super star on new stage. I myself give most, if not all, credits to Thei Sein because I believe this man lets good things happen in Myanmar. I hope that Thein Sein and Suu Kyi will work well together to make Myanmar a better country and Myanmarians enjoy better life there.

    by: Zayar
    April 02, 2012 6:22 AM
    I am so happy as a burmese citizen.It is people's victory.The HLUTTAW will be more active .NLD will protect people.

    by: Shan
    April 02, 2012 5:48 AM
    The changing movement in Myanmar is so exciting; that will bring the democracy to one of most poorest country in the world; i really admires Ms Aung San Suu Kyi for her courage and country love and I also think that the Myanmar government had the good decision for their country and for their people. I am happy with the changes in Myanmar and I hope that Vietnamese Leader can be courage like their friends in Myanmar to change the Vietnamese stronger, our people have more democracy and fair.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora