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Wins all around in the Myanmar election

Wally Gobetz/Flickr

The National League for Democracy won by a landslide in Myanmar’s election. This win could bring more hope of peace for the country than it has ever known. People in Myanmar began celebrating this victory for democracy even before the party “officially” won the election. Supporters of the NLD along with voters in Myanmar waited 25 years to cast their ballots in an open election.

And after a successful voter turnout where 30 million citizens were able to cast votes throughout the country, celebration started not long after the first results began show the NLD party had major leads.

But it’s hasn’t been an easy path to get to this election, as my colleague Caryn points out in a #tbt to Myanmar’s last election.

The long fight for democracy

The NLD is led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi who has been battling for democracy and peace in the country for decades.

Suu Kyi’s fight for legitimate democracy has been a longstanding challenge. She was placed under house arrest in 1989 prior to the 1990 general election and while the NLD party received 59 percent of votes in that election, which should have allowed NLD to assume 80 percent of parliament seats, the military junta refused to give up power.

Since then, she’s faced an uphill battle for democracy.

Here’s some past quotes from Aung San Suu Kyi on governance to get you as excited about this change in power in Myanmar’s government.

“It is undeniably easier to ignore the hardships of those who are too weak to demand their rights than to respond sensitively to their needs. To care is to accept responsibility, to dare to act in accordance with the dictum that the ruler is the strength of the helpless.”

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

“The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.”

And my personal favorite quote from before Aung San Suu Kyi officially won the election:

“I think you all have the idea.”

And everyone did, the military even congratulated Suu Kyi after her party won a massive majority of the seats in the country's parliament.

A few roadblocks—no problem

Aung San Suu Kyi is the chairperson of the NLD and now will be “above the president” in terms of rank.

Why wouldn’t Suu Kyi become president?

There’s a clause in the constitution (drafted by the military) prohibiting anyone with a foreign spouse or children to become president.

And in the same clause, 25 percent of parliament seats are required to go to the military--and for anything to pass, a vote has to receive 75 percent approval.

But don’t worry, Suu Kyi says in this interview with BBC, “I’ll make all the decisions.”

Yes, Suu Kyi inherits the problems of the past and conflict will not end overnight, but the triumph of the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi’s lifelong endeavour to bring democracy to the country has arrived. And the continuation of her journey to achieve human rights, fair law and equality to Myanmar is what I’ll be looking forward to next.