Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday it is "too early" to say whether her National League for Democracy party will contest national elections scheduled for 2015, as no firm date for the ballot has been set, and called on the government to ensure the vote is conducted fairly.
“[The] NLD will announce officially whether we will take part in the elections or not once the government releases an election date officially,” the Nobel laureate told reporters at a year-end news conference in the commercial capital Yangon.
“It is too early to tell that, as it hasn’t announced yet if the election will be held or not,” she said.
The election should be held as promised, though, and should be conducted fairly, she said.
“We all have to work together to make sure that the elections are inclusive, that they are transparent, that they are free and fair and that they are held on time as scheduled,” she said.
“[But] as I’m not an astrologer, I cannot say what the situation will be.”
Charter changes sought
Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD boycotted national elections in Myanmar in 2010, the country’s first following decades of direct military rule, citing “unfair and unjust” rules, but won 43 out of 44 parliamentary seats it contested in by-elections two years later after some of those rules were changed.
Since then, she has led efforts to amend the country’s 2008 junta-backed constitution—which grants the military control of a quarter of the legislature and a crucial veto over charter changes—collecting around five million signatures in support of her campaign.
The constitution also contains an article that bars Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president, because her two sons are British citizens, as was her late husband.
Parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann, a presumed presidential candidate and current head of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), said in November that the constitution can be amended only after the 2015 elections.
His announcement was immediately challenged by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, which said he had no authority to make the decision.
Observers have suggested that Myanmar's current leaders fear a defeat in the upcoming election and may stall for more time to prepare, delaying the vote.
Reported by Kyaw Zaw Win and Kyaw Lwin Oo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Richard Finney.