Suu Kyi’s Party Declares Victory as Burma Shifts to Democracy

Daniel Ten Kate

Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is surrounded by supporters and journalists as she visits a polling station in Kawhmu, Myanmar on April 1, 2012.

Myanmar dissident Aung San Suu Kyi will become a lawmaker for the first time after a victory in by- elections yesterday that may prompt the U.S. and European Union to lift sanctions and end the country’s global isolation.

“The Lady has won,” Nyan Win, a spokesman for her National League for Democracy party, said by phone from Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, amid loud cheers from her supporters. “This is a big victory for us.”

Suu Kyi’s party won at least 35 of 45 seats in the first vote it contested since the army discarded a 1990 victory, Nyan Win said. Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle, won at all but one polling station in her district, he said.

The vote may open the door for the end of sanctions that prevent companies from General Electric Co. (GE) to Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) from investing in the country of 64 million people bordering China and India. President Thein Sein has moved to modernize Myanmar’s political and economic system since taking power a year ago, including a managed float of its currency set to take effect yesterday…

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Related: Sapped by its major ally China, Burma reaches out to the West and Japan

In a world beset by war, ethnic conflict and humanitarian disasters, Burma seems one of those rare places where diplomats can say they are making a positive difference.

Maybe that’s precisely because this Southeast Asian land, was until recently a pariah state, suffering from the self- inflicted wounds of a ruthless military regime, ethnic conflicts, rebuilding from humanitarian crisis, and even a name change from Burma to Myanmar by the country’s military rulers.

After returning from yet another visit to Burma, the UN’s Special Envoy Vijay Nambiar described “Dramatic positive changes in Myanmar”. One year after a new civilian government had been formed, he said, political and economic reforms, as well as the release of political prisoners, were “key components of change.” Still the veteran diplomat cautioned, “Myanmar was only at the beginning of its transition.”…


News agency AFP posted a brief video at YouTube.



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