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Background on Suu Kyi and the 2012 By-Election

In December 2011, there was speculation that Suu Kyi would run in the 2012 national by-elections to fill vacant seats. On 18 January 2012, Suu Kyi formally registered to contest a Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) seat in the Kawhmu Township constituency in special parliamentary elections to be held on 1 April 2012.

The seat was previously held by Soe Tint, who vacated it after being appointed Construction Deputy Minister, in the 2010 election. She is running against Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate Soe Min, a retired army physician and native of Twante Township.

On 3 March 2012, at a large campaign rally in Mandalay, Suu Kyi unexpectedly left after 15 minutes, because of exhaustion and airsickness]

In an official campaign speech broadcast on Burmese state television's MRTV on 14 March 2012, Suu Kyi publicly campaigned for reform of the 2008 Constitution, removal of restrictive laws, more adequate protections for people's democratic rights, and establishment of an independent judiciary.

The speech was leaked online a day before it was broadcast. A paragraph in the speech, focusing on the Tatmadaw's repression by means of law, was censored by authorities.

Suu Kyi has also called for international media to monitor the upcoming by-elections, while publicly pointing out irregularities in official voter lists, which include deceased individuals and exclude other eligible voters in the contested constituencies. On 21 March 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying "Fraud and rule violations are continuing and we can even say they are increasing."

When asked whether she would assume a ministerial post if given the opportunity, she said the following:

“I can tell you one thing – that under the present Constitution, if you become a member of the government you have to vacate your seat in the national assembly. And I am not working so hard to get into parliament simply to vacate my seat.”

On 26 March 2012, Suu Kyi suspended her nationwide campaign tour early, after a campaign rally in Myeik (Mergui), a coastal town in the south, citing health problems due to exhaustion and hot weather. Source Wikipedia

Political Beginnings

Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma in 1988 to take care of her ailing mother. By coincidence, in the same year, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. This led to mass demonstrations for democracy on 8 August 1988 (8–8–88), a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising.

On 26 August 1988, she addressed half a million people at a mass rally in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital, calling for a democratic government. However in September, a new military junta took power.

Influenced by both Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence and by more specifically Buddhist concepts, Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988, and was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989.

She was offered freedom if she left the country, but she refused.

One of her most famous speeches is the "Freedom From Fear" speech, which begins: "It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it."

She also believes fear spurs many world leaders to lose sight of their purpose. "Government leaders are amazing", she once said. "So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want."

A Timeline in Aung San Suu Kyi’s life:

1989:  Aung San Suu Kyi is put under house arrest.

1990: The NLD wins 392 out of 429 seats in the first free general election held in 30 years, but the military government does not recognize the results.

1991: Aung San Suu Kyi, still under house arrest, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1995 - Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest after six years.

1996 - Aung San Suu Kyi attends first NLD Congress since her release; Slorc arrests more than 200 delegates on their way to party Congress.

1999 - Aung San Suu Kyi rejects ruling council conditions to visit her British husband, Michael Aris, who dies of cancer in the UK.

2002 May - Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi released after nearly 20 months of house arrest.

2003 May- Aung San Suu Kyi taken into "protective custody" after clashes between her supporters and those of government.

14 October, 2010: Aung San Suu Kyi says she will not vote in elections and that “the people have the right not to vote.”

13 November 2010: Aung San Suu Kyi is released after spending 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest due to her open opposition of the military junta.

November 2010: Her son Kim Aris was granted a visa to see his mother, Aung San Suu Kyi, shortly after her release, for the first time in 10 years.

24 March, 2012: Suu Kyi suspends her campaign citing exhaustion with one week remaining before the election.

1 April 2012: By-elections are held for 48 seats. However; elections in three ethnic constituencies are postponed by the government citing security concerns.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 01 April 2012 00:44 )  

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