Sat, Jun 20, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Legislative hurdle keeps aging Suu Kyi from presidency

AFP, YANGON, Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi’s transformation into a democracy champion happened almost by accident after she returned from Britain to the country formerly known as Burma in 1988 to nurse her sick mother.

Soon afterward, protests erupted against its military rulers, who crushed the uprising with a crackdown that left at least 3,000 people dead.

Aung San Suu Kyi proved to be a charismatic orator and took a leading role in the burgeoning pro-democracy movement, delivering speeches to crowds of hundreds of thousands.

Alarmed by the support she commanded, the generals ordered her first stint of house arrest in 1989.

She was locked up by the junta for a total of 15 years, mostly in her crumbling lakeside mansion in Yangon, without a telephone and with only the company of two female aides.

However, the struggle for her country came at a high personal cost: Aung San Suu Kyi was unable to see her husband Michael Aris before his death from cancer in 1999, and missed seeing her sons grow up.

The then-ruling junta refused Aris a visa to visit her and Aung San Suu Kyi did not attempt to leave Myanmar during her few periods of freedom, fearing she would never be allowed to return.

Despite Aung San Suu Kyi’s confinement, the NLD swept a national vote in 1990 by a landslide, but was never allowed to take power.

In her role as an a member of parliament — she entered parliament in 2012 after landmark by-elections — she has appeared willing to find consensus and compromise.

However, as the party gears up for its best chance of political power in a quarter century, she has yet to fully commit to taking part.

“No one can know what will happen, so we have to calculate for every possibility,” she told reporters in the capital Naypyidaw in April.

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