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In an interview with the BBC, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s democracy campaigner and Nobel peace laureate, said she believes Burma will hold democratic elections “in my life time”. She is the most prominent Burmese opposition politician and general secretary of the National League for Democracy.
Suu Kyi has been revered as a symbol for the democratization of Burma, an icon for the removal of injustice, and has been fighting for political reforms for more than 20 years. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, she said she is hopeful about democratic elections in Burma but was unsure when would take place.
Recently, Aung San Suu Kyi formally registered her National League for Democracy (NLD) as a political party and last week government approved NLD as political party and to run in the upcoming by-elections.
The year 2011 was significant to the people of Burma as a year of reforms and transformation in the economic and political as well as administrative sphere. One of the most magnanimous and unparalleled action taken towards democracy and freedom by the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has been the release of Suu Kyi from house arrest. In November 2010, the first polls in a period of 20 years were held, replacing military rule with a military-backed nominally civilian government.
To Associated Press, Aung San Suu Kyi said that she is cautiously optimistic about the progress to be made. She cautioned that democratic reforms started by the nominally civilian government are unstoppable. Nevertheless, she clearly reminded the West not to get carried away with these reforms, as Burma’s military still hold considerable power to derail democratic efforts.
Burma’s civilian government has initiated a series of reforms, including the establishment of a national human rights commission, deployment of new labor laws, initiating dialogue with the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and relaxation of press censorship and regulation of currency practices.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague recently visited Burma, a British first since 1955. Mr. Hague said to the BBC that the momentum for change in Burma is “real.” Mr. Hague further said, “This is a very exciting time because there is a chance that what she and her colleagues have hoped and longed for so long will actually take place in this country.”
Democracy has been hailed as a constructive and instrumental source of economic and political freedom around the world. Its effect on the economy, however, should not be the main focus, rather, democracy plays a key role in human life and freedoms. With hope unshaken and a determination in fight for democracy, Burma may have a real chance at removing itself from the shackles of military rule.