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Myanmar diaspora apprehensive yet hopeful after Suu Kyi's victory

Delhi,Politics, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) Hailing victory of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the Myanmar by-polls, Myanmarese settled here say that they are eagerly waiting to see how she would change the atmosphere of their parliament and country while acknowledging she would not be able to make much headway in the present scenario.


"These elections are anything but free and fair. Myanmar is still only working towards stage one on the road to democracy. It's as much cause for caution as it is for hope," Ma Thu, a political analyst in Delhi, told IANS.


"Please, everyone who wishes Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi well, be realistic. There's a lot further to go than the miles yet travelled by her," he said.



Thousands of Myanmarese citizens are living in India after fleeing the country when it was governed by the military. While several live in Delhi, a larger number of them are living in the northeastern states, some of which share their borders with Myanmar.


"It will be a tough time for Suu Kyi... but I hope and many like me pray that she can change the atmosphere of the parliament, make it more transparent, which engages in more debate on people's issues like education and health," said Myint Ng Than, who fled from Burma ten years ago and works in a restaurant here.


Than also said that Suu Kyi and her opposition colleagues will have little voice as the parliament will be dominated by the military.



"But still the election after so many years has showcased the road toward national reconciliation," Than added.


Voicing the same, Mary, who was forced to leave Myanmar five years ago, said: "Many like me hate the oppressive junta. We suffered a lot... there was forced labour, no payment and only oppression. With Suu Kyi entering parliament, there is some hope we see. Though everything won't change, but things will definitely get a little better.


M.Kim, campaign coordinator at the Burma Centre Delhi (BCD), said that not too much should be expected from Suu Kyi's victory.


"Even if Suu Kyi and (her party National League for Democracy) NLD will win the election it will not have any effect, as the NLD cannot make any key change. The only good thing is Suu Kyi might be in the parliament. Opposition has not allowed the parliament to function... but we (Myanmar people) are also excited to how she will handle it," Kim said.


Myanmar's legislature has 664 seats, more than 80 percent of which are still held by MPs aligned with the military-backed ruling party, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).


"Even if she takes power, I don't think she will be given a good post to actually cause any significant impact. All we can do is wait and watch. I believe that the military can take back the power any time," said Chin Student Union president Laitha.


"If she (Kyi) wishes to achieve alleviation of poverty she needs to take with her ethnic groups, the Chin, Kachin etc. otherwise even distribution of growth will not be possible," added Laitha.


Meanwhile the Myanmarese diaspora also opined that India's role in bringing democracy in Burma was little.


"India is the largest democracy. If India helps, anything can be done, but it is not ready to play a huge part," Laitha said.


Kim also said: "It is very upsetting that India doesn't actively involved or support the democratic stand of our people, Afters o many years only now they showcase some interest."


NLD chairperson Suu Kyi has won the parliamentary by-poll for a seat in Myanmar's lower house, raising the prospect of a sizable political role, after her two decade-long struggle in the country ruled by a military junta.


The official results for the by-election held Sunday are expected later this week.The last time Myanmar held elections in 1990, but the junta ignored the results and placed Suu Kyi under house arrest.



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