Myanmar’s most famous political prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has finally seen the light of the day. Her National League of Democracy (NLD) party expectedly achieved a landslide victory in the nation’s historic elections in Myanmar, formerly Burma, ending her 25-year struggle against the dictatorial military regime. The lady remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from July 20, 1989, until her release on November 13, 2010. Consequently, she became one of the world’s most high-profile political prisoners.
On April 1, 2012, Suu Kyi won the vote for a seat in the country’s Parliament, and on July 9, she attended the Parliament for the first time as a lawmaker. As of 2014, Suu Kyi is listed as the 61st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
Suu Kyi had earlier dubbed the 2015 elections as “the most important elections in the history of independent Myanmar”, that would decide the future of her country. With her massive win, she has proved it right. The still powerful military has promised to honor the election results and said it would not block Ms Suu Kyi’s party from taking power if it could secure a parliamentary majority. But the military establishement can hardly be trusted. International monitoring is crucial in this regard.
Myanmar’s wobbly journey from military dictatorship to democracy has made suu Kyi that much more stronger, and this victory is the culmination of her sacrifices made during her fight for democracy. After years under house arrest, following the country’s 1990 election, when the NLD won a landslide victory and was ignored by the military rule, the iron lady can breathe free.
The vote was Myanmar’s first general election since its long-ruling military ceded power to President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government in 2011, ushering in a period of reform and opening up to foreign investment. People of Myanmar rejoiced with Suu Kyi’s victory.
Interestingly, the election results do not guarantee her a place as the next President, according to the 2008 constitution, which has a clause that bars anyone married to a foreigner from being president. Suu Kyi says she’ll be in charge, but the newly-elected parliament will choose the country’s figurehead president, likely a senior member of the NLD.