NAYPYIDAW, July 11 Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday said her party would participate in historic polls set for November 8, vowing that the party would amend the constitution that bars her from the presidency if it wins. It will be the first general election in a quarter of a century to be contested by the National League for Democracy (NLD), which is expected to make huge gains in the ballot box if the vote is free and fair. “We have decided to take part in the election,” Suu Kyi told a room packed with reporters at her residence in the capital Naypyidaw. The confirmation comes after months of speculation over whether the party would boycott elections seen as a crucial test of Myanmar’s transition towards democracy after decades of outright military rule ended in 2011. The NLD had refused to rule out not standing as it battled to amend a junta-era charter that bars those with a foreign spouse or children from the presidency — Suu Kyi’s late husband and two sons are British. But after last month losing a key parliamentary vote aimed at ending the military’s effective veto on constitutional change — the first hurdle in changing the provision barring her from the top job — the Nobel laureate said she would not back down. Flanked by senior party figures at the press conference, a determined Suu Kyi said her opposition knew she would be “debarred” from the presidency. She said there was “a plan” in place to get around the fact that the party had yet to name a potential candidate for the leadership if it wins at the polls, though she declined to reveal details. “We are not going to the election without an idea of how we intend to handle this problem,” Suu Kyi said. She added that the party would redouble its constitutional change efforts after the polls. A pressing concern for the party has been the status of official voter lists, with election officials acknowledging that those displayed across the country are riddled with inaccuracies. Suu Kyi reiterated that the lists needed to be corrected if the elections were to be free and fair, as President Thein Sein promised.
Suu Kyi’s party to contest historic November 8 polls
Published: 07:26 am Jul 12, 2015