Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi today hailed a “new era” for Myanmar and called for political unity after her party swept to victory in elections seen as a test of budding reforms.
The dramatic political changes were accompanied by the quasi-civilian government’s most radical economic reform yet — an overhaul of the country’s complex currency regime.
Suu Kyi supporters celebrated into the night after her National League for Democracy (NLD) party declared that the Nobel laureate had secured a seat in parliament for the first time in yesterday’s by-elections.
The veteran activist’s election to political office,which was confirmed by state media,marks the latest sweeping change in the country formerly known as Burma after decades of outright military rule ended last year.
“This is not so much our triumph as a triumph for people who have decided that they must be involved in the political process in this country,” Suu Kyi said in a victory speech at her party headquarters in Yangon.
“We hope this will be the beginning of a new era,” said the 66-year-old known fondly as “The Lady”,who was locked up by the former junta for most of the past 22 years.
Suu Kyi struck a conciliatory tone towards the other political parties as she prepares to take her place in a parliament that will remain dominated by the military and its political allies.
“We hope that all parties that took part in the elections will be in a position to cooperate with us in order to create a genuinely democratic atmosphere in our nation,” she said.
State media said the NLD had won 40 of the 44 seats it contested,according to partial official results. In total,45 seats were available. The results for the remaining five have not yet been officially announced.