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Old April 1, 2012, 05:01 PM
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bujhee kom bujhee kom is offline
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Exclamation Breaking News: Aung San Suu Kyi Wins Myanmar Parliament Seat!

All of us are waiting to see what happens....All the best! Bravo! Congratas Aung San Suu Kyi!

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Supporters of Myanmar's opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi erupted in euphoric cheers Sunday after her party said she won a parliamentary seat in a landmark election, setting the stage for her to take public office for the first time.

The victory, if confirmed, would mark a major milestone in the Southeast Asian nation, where the military has ruled almost exclusively for a half-century and where a new reform-minded government is seeking legitimacy and a lifting of Western sanctions.

It would also mark the biggest prize of Suu Kyi's political career, and a spectacular reversal of fortune for the 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate who the former junta had kept imprisoned in her lakeside home for the better part of two decades.

The victory claim was displayed on a digital signboard outside the opposition National League for Democracy's headquarters in Myanmar's main city, Yangon, where supporters gathered by the thousands as the polls closed in the late afternoon. They began wildly shouting upon learning the news, chanting "We won! We won!" while clapping, dancing, waving red party flags and gesturing with thumbs-up and V-for-victory signs.

As more counts came in from the NLD's poll watchers around the country, the crowd grew to as many as 10,000. The party's security guards tried without success to keep the traffic flowing past the people occupying much of the road and all nearby sidewalks.

By 9 p.m., the NLD was claiming victory in 13 constituencies, including two in the capital, Naypyitaw. It claimed substantial leads in about 10 more. No official tallies had been released.

Results in Naypyitaw had been hard to predict, because many of its residents are civil servants and their families dependent on the government for their livelihoods, and the turnout when Suu Kyi campaigned there was noticeably smaller than elsewhere. But the party appeared to be running up large leads over its rival, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.

"It is the people's victory! We have taught them a lesson," said a shopkeeper who goes by the single name Thein who wore a T-shirt with Suu Kyi's picture on the front and her party's fighting peacock on the back.

The digital screen displaying results also flashed a message from Suu Kyi to her followers noting that they were understandably happy but should avoid gloating. She cautioned them to "Please refrain from rude behavior or actions that would make the other side unhappy."

Results were expected to come in slowly from more rural and remote areas. All results must be confirmed by the official electoral commission, however, which may not make an official declaration for days.

Suu Kyi's results were among the first announced; shortly after polls closed, her party had claimed that Suu Kyi was ahead with 65 percent of the vote in 82 of her constituency's 129 polling stations. The party had staff and volunteers spread throughout the vast rice-farming district, who were calling in preliminary results by phone to their headquarters in Yangon.

The victory claim came despite allegations by her National League for Democracy party that "rampant irregularities" had taken place on voting day. Party spokesman Nyan Win said that by midday alone the party had filed more than 50 complaints to the Election Commission.

He said most alleged violations concerned waxed ballot papers that made it difficult to mark votes. There were also ballot cards that lacked the Election Commission's seal, which would render them invalid.

Sunday's by-election was called to fill just 45 vacant seats in Myanmar's 664-seat national Parliament and will not change the balance of power in a new government that is nominally civilian but still heavily controlled by retired generals. Suu Kyi and other opposition candidates would have almost no say even if they win all the seats they are contesting.

But her candidacy has resurrected hope among Myanmar's downtrodden masses, who have grown up for generations under strict military rule. If Suu Kyi takes office as expected, it would symbolize a giant leap toward national reconciliation.

"She may not be able to do anything at this stage," said one voter, Go Khehtay, who cast his ballot for Suu Kyi at Wah Thin Kha, one of the dirt-poor villages in the rural constituency south of Yangon that she is vying to represent. "But one day, I believe she'll be able to bring real change."

Earlier, crowds of supporters mobbed Suu Kyi as she visited a polling station in the village after spending the night there. The tiny community of 3,000 farmers has no electricity or running water, and its near-total underdevelopment illustrates the profound challenges facing the country as it slowly emerges from 49 years of army rule.

Despite the reports of widespread irregularities, a confirmed victory by Suu Kyi could cheer Western powers and nudge them closer to easing economic sanctions they have imposed on the country for years.

Suu Kyi herself told reporters Friday that the campaigning for Sunday's vote been anything but free or fair, but that she was pressing for forward with her candidacy because it's "what our people want."

Last year, Myanmar's long-entrenched military junta handed power to a civilian government dominated by retired officers that skeptics decried as a proxy for continued military rule. But the new rulers — who came to power in a 2010 vote that critics say was neither free nor fair — have surprised the world with a wave of reform.

The government of President Thein Sein, himself a retired lieutenant general, has freed political prisoners, signed truces with rebel groups and opened a direct dialogue with Suu Kyi, who wields enough moral authority to greatly influence the Myanmar policy of the U.S. and other powers.

Suu Kyi's decision to endorse Thein Sein's reforms so far and run in Sunday's election represents a political gamble.

Once in parliament, she can seek to influence policy and challenge the government from within. But she also risks legitimizing a regime she has fought against for decades while gaining little true legislative power.

Suu Kyi is in a "strategic symbiosis" with some of the country's generals and ex-generals, said Maung Zarni, a Myanmar expert and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.

"They need her and she needs them to break the 25 years of political stalemate," Zarni said. "She holds the key for the regime's need for its international acceptance and normalization."

Sunday's poll marks the first foray into electoral politics by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party since winning a landslide election victory in 1990. The military annulled those results and kept Suu Kyi in detention for much of the next two decades. The party boycotted the last vote in 2010, but in January the government amended key electoral laws, paving the way for a run in this weekend's ballot.

A new reform was expected Monday when Myanmar's currency will be largely unshackled from government controls that kept the kyat at an artificially high rate for decades. The International Monetary Fund says the change could lift a major constraint on growth in one of Asia's least developed countries.
God bless Ingrid Newkirk, Dianne Feinstein, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand & Mitch Landrieu!
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Old April 1, 2012, 10:47 PM
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Zeeshan Zeeshan is offline
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Unbelievable! Such a noteworthy thread yet no response. Aren't we a tunnel visioned jati in general...

On topic: It's about time she won this. Thanks for the thread bk bhai.
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Old April 1, 2012, 11:07 PM
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Navo Navo is offline
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It's remarkable that she got elected, but it will be even more remarkable if she can actually affect and shape Myanmar's govt. policies once she sits in Parliament. Selfishly speaking though, her being in power definitely works in BD's national interest.
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Old April 2, 2012, 12:50 AM
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zinatf zinatf is offline
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Thanks for sharing it BK da! Very happy that she has finally got elected....kudos to her

Let's hope that she can reshape the Myanmar govt. from here on.
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Old April 2, 2012, 04:36 AM
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Purbasha T Purbasha T is offline
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Let's get her exchanging one of our very own great ladies.

or, give her the dual responsibility of leading two nations.
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Old April 2, 2012, 11:24 AM
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In at least one way, she is like our two 'great ladies' - her father founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma/Myanmar's freedom from the British. But the rest is totally different =p

She is incredibly articulate and is a thought provoking speaker/writer. Last year, I listened to her give a couple of lectures over the BBC World Service. I'd encourage everyone to listen to it:


(Then go watch the movie about her if you must xD)
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Old April 2, 2012, 07:43 PM
sufism sufism is offline
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The sacrifice she made for her people could be an example for true leaders. She is up there with Nelson Mendela.

Why can't we have her in exchange for both ladies we are so fortunate to have. I think people in Myanmar won't mind. Not too bad a deal. What do you say?
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Old April 2, 2012, 09:57 PM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Good for Myanmar people, though not sure how she will deal with foreign powers with huge natural resources. China is in one side, USA, Japan in other side. Bright future ahead if she can always work on best interest of Myanmar, her inexperience in the office is an obvious concern.
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Old April 2, 2012, 10:42 PM
Zunaid Zunaid is offline
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One must keep in mind that this was a by-election and only 45 seats were at play. The majority i parliament is still held by the USDP which won the 2010 elections widely condemned by the opposition as fraudulent. However, subsequent to that the government did engage in some liberalization that included the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. Her previously declared 'illegal' party was allowed to run this time.

The ruling party (with deep ties to the military) still holds the purse strings and the military industrial complex is entrenched deep into the Myanmar economy. It would be difficult for anyone to snip off the tentacles.

The cynic in me says this was a stage managed exercise to put the nice guy face of Myanmar to the outside world that will lead to the lifting of sanctions and to a stampede to help extract Myanmar's considerable mineral resources. Well placed to benefit from this would be the military. Over the past several years, the government had a fire-sale of assets as they went on and privatized over 90% of state owned assets. Most of the sales were to business people with ties to the military. And some of the buyers included military run corporations such as the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings, which controls the army’s pension fund, and the Myanmar Economic Corporation, which oversees funds from the sale of state-owned enterprises.
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Old April 2, 2012, 10:49 PM
Zunaid Zunaid is offline
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The good news is that her party won 40 of the 45 seats.
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