Aung San Suu Kyi

March 30, 2012 by staff 

Aung San Suu Kyi, Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday that Burma’s landmark weekend elections will be neither free nor fair because of widespread irregularities, but vowed to continue her candidacy for the sake of the long-repressed nation.

Suu Kyi said opposition candidates had been targeted in stone-throwing incidents, campaign posters vandalized and members of her party intimidated during the run-up to Sunday’s closely-watched parliamentary byelections.

During a news conference on the lawn of her crumbling lakeside residence in Rangoon, the 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate said government officials were involved in some of the irregularities and that they go “beyond what is acceptable for democratic elections.”

“Still,” she said, “we are determined to go forward because we think this is what our people want.”

The vote to fill several dozen vacant legislative seats comes after months of surprising reforms carried out by Burma’s nominally civilian, post-junta government, including the release of political prisoners, truces with rebel groups and a dramatic easing of media censorship. The poll is a crucial test of the country’s commitment to change, and Western nations have held out the possibility of lifting some sanctions if all goes smoothly.

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