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Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon cast her first-ever ballot

The 70-year-old smiled but said nothing to waiting reporters as she cast her ballot at a polling station near the lakeside villa that served as her prison when the country was under dictatorship.

Myanmar, Myanmar elections, Myanmar polls, Aung Suu Kyi, Myanmar votes, Myanmar voting, Myanmar polls news Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a campaign rally a head coming general elections in Yangon November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Though championed worldwide as a pro-democracy icon, there is something Aung San Suu Kyi was unable to do until Sunday: Vote.

The 70-year-old smiled but said nothing to waiting reporters as she cast her ballot at a polling station near the lakeside villa that served as her prison when the country was under dictatorship.

Nyan Win, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy Party, confirmed it was a first for “The Lady.”

Suu Kyi is Myanmar’s most popular politician and, if the elections are credible, the NLD is widely expected to win the largest number of seats in parliament. Though that could pave the way for an NLD presidency, it won’t be Suu Kyi. A clause in the constitution, clearly penned with her in mind, bars her from the top job.

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Suu Kyi, who spent 15 on-again-off-again years under house arrest, was locked up during the last openly contested vote in 1990. The NLD won by a landslide, but a shocked army refused to recognize the results.

In 2010, when the junta agreed to hold elections that put in place today’s nominally civilian government, her party boycotted, saying the election laws were unfair. Again she was under house arrest.

The Nobel Peace laureate’s last opportunity to vote would have been in 2012, but there were no by-elections in her township, Bahan.

First published on: 08-11-2015 at 02:45:49 pm
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