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Suu Kyi addresses Karenni crowds

Suu Kyi speaking to voters in Loikaw district, Karenni State, on 10 September. (PHOTO: DVB)

National League for Democracy chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi today spoke to voters at her party’s election campaign in the Loikaw District township of Demoso, in Karenni State, telling parents to carefully consider their vote for the sake of their children’s future.

Speaking at the rally held at the Saint Joseph’s Church, she told locals that her party wants to work together with citizens.

“I haven’t been in Demoso in a while. It is a rare opportunity to come here,” she said. “We would like to meet with as many people as we can while we are here, and only when we meet, will be able to have a mutual understanding as to how we can work together – this is very important for our country.

“When you are in Karenni State, it is impossible to forget the fact that we live in a union – there are various ethnic groups here speaking various dialects, with varying cultures and different religions. Building understanding between each other is crucial for peaceful co-existence and unity. Some people have concerns about the differences, but differences are not to be worried about, they can be a source of positive strength for our country. That depends on all the people. If we can understand each other and see in one another qualities that we do not have ourselves, we can be more complete,” Suu Kyi said.

Suu Kyi will visit three towns in Karenni State, officially known as Kayah, the least populous region in the country.

In addition to her appearance earlier today in Loikaw, Suu Kyi was slated to address another crowd close to the state capital on Thursday afternoon, before tackling a third rally this evening in Bawlakhe, which is the home constituency of the ruling party’s Soe Thein, a presidential minister.

“Unlike Rakhine [Arakan], Shan and Chin states, there are no well-established local ethnic parties in Kayah,” said Sithu Aung Myint, an independent political analyst. “The constituencies here are rather small and the NLD has a good chance to sweep to victory.”

“She is coming here just to support our candidates, because it looks like we are weaker than the rivals,” Thaung Htay, 56, a member of the Loikaw NLD chapter, told Reuters.

Soe Thein, who is running for an upper house seat as an independent, is one of the top presidential acolytes and most powerful people in Burma, officially known as Myanmar.

He was excluded from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party’s (USDP) candidate lists in July by then-chairman of the party Shwe Mann. Some experts say this contributed to Shwe Mann’s ouster from party leadership in a dramatic shake-up of the political establishment last month.