Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi began a trip Monday that will take her to the country’s western Chin state, the first of three ethnic states she will visit this month to drum up support for constitutional reforms.
Supporters greeted her as she arrived in Kalaymyo, a town in northern Myanmar’s Sagaing division, while on her way to Chin State, which she will visit Wednesday for the first time in a decade.
After giving speeches over the next three days in several towns in Chin state, one of Myanmar’s poorest areas, she will travel to Kayin (Karen) and Shan states later this month.
The three states are home to some of Myanmar’s largest ethnic minority groups, which are clamoring for changes to the 2008-written constitution that would give the states greater regional autonomy.
The 68-year-old Nobel laureate said that during the tour she will speak to the public about amendments to the country’s military-drafted charter, which also contains provisions barring her from becoming president on the grounds that her children are British citizens.
Her National League for Democracy party has called for sweeping changes to the document ahead of 2015 elections.
Ethnic-based parties have called for constitutional changes that allow their groups greater representation and a bigger share from the central government of revenue derived from resources taken from the states, where armed conflicts had raged for years under the previous military junta rule.
Addressing a crowd in Kalaymyo, Aung San Suu Kyi thanked supporters of the party and asked them to think critically about proposed amendments.
“People’s support for constitutional amendments is not meaningful and valuable unless they have a clear understanding of why they support it,” she said.
“In politics, people cannot support someone only out of love,” she said.
Reported by Myo Thant Khine and Yadanar Oo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.