Suu Kyi kicks off by-election campaign
YANGON MYANMAR democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday launched her campaign for a seat in the April 1 by-election that is seen as a litmus test for the new government’s reforms.
Suu Kyi, 66, with roses in her hair and wearing a traditional white long shirt of the Karen ethnic minority group, kicked off her campaign in Wha Thin Kha village of Kawhmu township, 30 kilometres south of Yangon, where she is contesting one of 48 seats left vacant when the cabinet took office in March.
“I’ve learned that there are many unemployed people living here, including graduates, so we need to create more job opportunities,”she told a crowd of thousands.
“If we want to serve the people we will need to work hard and we will have to overcome our difficulties with unity among the people,” Suu Kyi said, drawing cheers. Strife between Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities is one of the country’s most difficult future challenges, after more than six decades of insurgencies challenging successive governments.
Although Suu Kyi’s family home is in Yangon, the former capital, she has registered as a resident of a house in Wha Thin Kha in order to qualify as a candidate in the district.
Her adopted family in the village is of the Karen ethnic minority group, the second largest after the Burmans in Myanmar’s racially diverse population of about 60 million.
This is the first election that the Nobel peace laureate is contesting in Myanmar.