Friday, 13 November 2015

The Lady's in Charge

Everyone will be watching how Aung San Suu Kyi leads Burma
Exactly five years ago today, Aung San Suu Kyi walked free after 15 years of house arrest and the electoral commission announced her party, the National League for Democracy won an overwhelming majority in Myanmar or Burma's first openly contested election in 25 years.

According to the constitution that was amended by the military, Suu Kyi technically cannot become president, but she has said that she would lead the country anyway if the NLD won.

Suu Kyi's release from house arrest exactly five years ago
The party earned over 80 percent of the vote, demonstrating the people are anxious for change -- however it won't come easily. The NLD has enough of a majority to pass bills, but the army has 25 percent of seats and controls key ministries, so there needs to be cooperation on both sides.

Suu Kyi will meet with President Thein Sein and army Commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing next week, probably to make the transition in power as peaceful as possible, and that the next government will be inclusive.

When she was under house arrest, I didn't think I would see her released in my lifetime, let alone win a relatively democratic election.

How times change -- and fast!

The Lady reading when she was under house arrest
It will be interesting to see how she leads Burma. While she was a symbol of democracy, she didn't speak out for ethnic minorities when she was leader of the opposition. There were spats of violence and Suu Kyi kept silent that seemed uncharacteristic of her, and raised doubts of her ability to unite the country.

Which is why it's kind of surprising how she and the NLD won such an overwhelming majority, but perhaps it's because everyone is clamoring for change. Will she deliver? We shall see.

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