March 4, 2012

MYANMAR: Suu Kyi tells rally she is back to health

BANGKOK, Thailand / Bangkok Post / Breaking News / March 4, 2012

Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 
during her campaign in Mandalay in central Myanmar 
on March 3. Suu Kyi insisted she was back to health 
on Sunday as she pressed on with her election campaign 
despite falling ill during a huge rally a day earlier. 
Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 66,  insisted she was feeling better on Sunday as she pressed on with her election campaign despite falling ill during a huge rally a day earlier.

A tired-looking Suu Kyi was hailed by crowds of well-wishers shouting "May Daw (Aunty) Suu be in good health!" as she toured the region around the second biggest city Mandalay on her second day in the area. "I did not feel well yesterday but because of the people's kindness I feel better today. I am well now," she told tens of thousands of people who had gathered to hear her speak in Sagaing city, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) from Mandalay.

On Saturday the 66-year-old, who is travelling with two personal doctors, was forced to take a break during a speech to more than 100,000 people -- the largest crowd of her election campaign so far. Sources from her party said she had vomited several times before returning to the stage.
Suu Kyi's decision to run for parliament in April 1 by-elections is seen as the clearest sign yet of reform in Myanmar although, with only 48 seats up for grabs, the opposition cannot threaten the ruling party's majority.
Myanmar's new regime has embarked on a series of dramatic changes since it replaced decades of outright junta rule last year, including freeing political prisoners and trying to strike ceasefire deals with ethnic rebels.
Suu Kyi is widely expected to be ushered into parliament by the April vote, which observers say could legitimise a legislature still dominated by the army and former generals who kept her locked up for almost two decades.
The Nobel laureate told supporters that she was willing to reach out to the unelected soldiers who make up a quarter of the parliament to help her party in its attempt to change parts of the constitution.
"I believe we will succeed if we ask the military representatives inside the parliament to join with us in the interest of the people," she said.
Suu Kyi warned that changing legislation could be a slow process.
"We have to try. I believe that success will come step by step. Because the people are very firmed behind these changes."
Suu Kyi used her illness on Saturday as an opportunity to discuss the policies of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
"We would like to give a better healthcare system to the people," she said of the country's chronically under-invested health service.
The international icon has had a punishing travel schedule ahead of the by-elections and her campaign has already taken her across the country, even though she is running for a seat in a constituency near her hometown of Rangoon.
Last week she hit the campaign trail in the northernmost state of Kachin, where she appealed for unity among the country's disparate ethnic groups and called for an immediate end to conflict between the regime and Kachin rebels.
The NLD won a landslide victory in an election in 1990 while she was under house arrest, but the ruling junta never accepted the result.
April's vote will be scrutinised by observers after a 2010 election was marred by widespread complaints of cheating and by the absence of Suu Kyi.
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