After years of claiming to be “above the government,” Aung San Suu Kyi could no longer avoid her responsibilities as the de facto leader of Myanmar. Her televised address late Sunday night attempted to sway the nation around the issue of elections scheduled for next month. She spoke of the long-overdue reforms, addressing the army for recognizing the power of democracy and doing what they could to register the number of registered voters who had lived in Myanmar more than once. But despite her best efforts, there was no doubt who had lost the debate in her country: She was forced back behind bars.
Her arrest signals the clearest transformation in Myanmar since its transition from military dictatorship to civilian government in 2011, but it is also a consequence of the radical changes that have taken place in the past year. The U.S. will likely cease sanctions against the country following the election, despite concluding that it has not held a free and fair vote. China will increase economic and political aid, while American companies may or may not be permitted to do business in the country. Before the declaration of martial law in Rakhine state, which prompted the deployment of military patrols, the borders with Bangladesh and China were closed.
In an email, Uri India, who has worked on the country’s human rights issues for decades, told the Times that the National League for Democracy (NLD) was no longer the same as it was at the start of its national campaign last year, as it had been hounded out of politics by its parliamentary rivals. She predicted that “the deck will be reshuffled” following next month’s polls and is expected to lose the biggest prize of the elections.
But after decades of being a free agent, with her name well-known by the public, perhaps she will still have one last chance to turn the tides.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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