She has a Nobel Peace Prize, is idolized in her land, but repudiated outside it for her silence towards the repression against the Rohingya that scandalized the whole world. His landslide victory in 2015, in what was considered the first democratic elections in Burma in decades, heralded a change of era in the country. That hope of the people was embodied by Aung San Suu Kyi (75 years old), the ‘Lady’, whose party won again in the November elections, but the military never accepted this victory.
After years of fighting for her freedom, the leader of the Burmese democratic movement and daughter of the hero of independence, Aung San, returns to the confinement. Suu Kyi rose to fame in 1988 when she raised a pro-democracy movement to fight against the military dictatorship that ruled the Asian country. She was under house arrest for 15 years although in detention for two decades – and became a benchmark for freedom worldwide, which led to her winning the Nobel Prize in 1991.
In 2010, the ‘Lady’, as Suu Kyi is known to her followers, celebrated her liberation with her faithful and from the house where she served part of her sentence, thus awakening the illusion of the Burmese people. He then begins to forge his way to rise to power. His party, the National League for Democracy (LND), boycotted the elections of that year and it was in 2011 when the Electoral Commission approved the legalization of his formation. In 2012, Suu Kyi is elected parliamentarian, and it will be on November 8, 2015, when she wins.
A triumph that he had already experienced in the past, but that had been taken from him by the Burmese Junta, which annulled the elections that Suu Kyi had won. The argument was then that the results “are not following the Constitution”, according to the new Electoral Law of the Popular Parliament. A regulation that prevented the participation of people who were serving a sentence, as was the case of Suu Kyi.
Also, according to the Constitution, she could not be a candidate because she was married to a foreigner.However, governing a country like Burma is not easy. Its political system, based on its 2008 Constitution, is unique. The top is occupied by former political prisoners who are now accused of repression and censorship. The Army has reserved by decree a quarter of all seats and control of three ministries (Defense, Interior, and Border Affairs). On the other hand, it is a nation where ethnic minorities constitute a third of the total population, only 37 of the parliamentarians in the current Lower House are members of parties of ethnic groups other than the Bamar, the majority ethnic group.
THE DECLINE OF THE MYTH
In his first government, what stained the image of the myth was that Aung San Suu Kyi called the repression against the Rohingya “simple problems”, which for the UN is an “ethnic cleansing” that left almost a million refugees. Perhaps what hurts the international community the most was his defense before the International Court of Justice of the Burmese Army. “How can there be a genocide!” Said the icon of democracy, in 2019. Many wondered then what were the reasons that had led the renowned defender of human rights to stand alongside those who supported her dam for two decades. His position did not cause him to withdraw the Nobel, but the European Parliament did snatch the Sakharov Prize that he awarded in 1990.
Despite everything, last November, Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed the victory of the NLD. However, the opposition, led by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (PSDU), rejected the results as “unfair” and called for a new vote. The opposition, backed by the military, denounced a lack of transparency over coronavirus restrictions that left many voters without voting. In addition to the fact that around a million and a half Burmese, members of ethnic minorities, were excluded from the elections due to the armed conflicts between the guerrillas that plague some states of the country.
The power of the military has always persecuted the Suu Kyi government. They have the right to veto in the Burmese parliament and that caused them to reject the NLD’s attempt to reform the Constitution in March. Today, he once again asked the Burmese people for the support that they have entrusted to him during all these years and asked “not to accept” the coup. Suu Kyi, whose life has been marked by the death of her father when she was only two years old and by exile (in India and the United Kingdom), is fighting again today for democracy in her country. An objective that takes her back to the years of her birth as an icon (the 1988 revolt), today questioned by the international community, but not by her faithful.