Fri 27 May 2011
Filed under: Inside Burma
Ignoring the result of the general election in 1990 was disrespectful to the will of the Burmese people, said pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, calling it “a historically inappropriate policy that damaged the image of the country.”
Suu Kyi made the comment at headquarters of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in Rangoon’s Sanchaung Township where more than 200 people had gathered on the eve of the 21st anniversary of Burma’s 1990 election.
The NLD won a landslide victory in the election in 1990, winning 392 out of 485 parliamentary seats. However, the regime refused to hand over power to the party.
Suu Kyi was quoted by reporters in Rangoon as saying: “We have always opposed the rejection of the 1990 election result. It is not because we want power. It is an inappropriate policy because they [government] broke their promise to the people. They gave the people hope, and then broke that hope.”
She added: “To maintain good image of a country, the government has to respect the will of the people.”
On the anniversary of the 1990 election victory, Suu Kyi also told the recently free political prisoners not to be afraid, and urged them to stay involved in the political movement for the interest of the people of Burma, said sources in Rangoon.
“My father [Gen Aung San] said that those who dare to resist have courage,” she said. “If we are afraid to continue our work, then all the time we have spent in prison is meaningless.”
Suu Kyi spoke at the ceremony before more than 30 political prisoners who had been freed on May 17.
Burma released some 14,600 prisoners on May 17 after announcing an amnesty. However, only 47 political prisoners were among those released.
NLD members, Burmese opposition politicians, ethnic leaders and family members of political prisoners also attended the ceremony. Some police were nearby taking notes and photographs of the gathering, sources said.
Suu Kyi also said that the amnesty granted by the government can be only called “mercy,” according to Win Htein, an NLD member, and personal assistant and close aide to Suu Kyi.
Tin Oo, the deputy chairman of the NLD, also spoke at the ceremony, saying that the government did not offer an honest amnesty as it released very few political prisoners.
Suu Kyi said that a country where democracy prevails has practices such as free elections and the rule of law. Detaining political activists unlawfully is against the spirit of democracy, she added.
Meanwhile, Win Tin, a senior advisor to Suu Kyi who was scheduled to speak at the event, was unable to attend the ceremony as he was hospitalized on Thursday evening suffering from a liver problem and serious skin infection.
The Irrawaddy correspondents in Rangoon contributed to this article.