Suu Kyi speech leaked on Internet before broadcast


AP

YANGON, Myanmar — Internet users have received a sneak preview of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s first-ever campaign speech for state television. A video posted on several websites, including Facebook and YouTube, shows the Nobel laureate proclaiming her National League for Democracy’s (NLD) party platform ahead of April 1 by-elections. Her party is contesting 47 of the 48 parliamentary seats at stake after having one candidate disqualified. All 17 parties running have been given 15-minute slots on state television to promote their policies. The NLD statement, taped Monday and leaked the same day, is scheduled to be broadcast on Wednesday and on March 22. In her broadcast, Suu Kyi repeated her campaign theme of undoing the repressive measures of past military regimes to make the country more democratic. The broadcast will mark the first time the democracy icon and Nobel Peace laureate has been given the opportunity to use state media to promote her party’s platform. The Election Commission censored a paragraph of the text of Suu Kyi’s speech, which had to be submitted in advance. It was excised under regulations that include a ban on statements harming the military’s image. Still, Suu Kyi was able to offer stiff criticism of the status quo in her talk, which was recorded in a studio where she sat at a desk and spoke directly into the camera with her hands clasped in front of her.

Suu Kyi called for repealing repressive laws, ensuring the judicial system is independent, allowing full freedom of the media and expanding the network of social assistance to include legal aid. She also called for amending the 2008 constitution, which was drafted with the army’s guidance, saying that its automatic allocation of 25 percent of the parliamentary seats to unelected representatives of the military is not democratic. However, she also extended a hand to the military. “According to Myanmar’s political history, I believe that the military must play a role for the development of the country,” she said. “I also believe that the military, which was founded by my father, Gen. Aung San, is always ready to serve in the interest of the country.”