Partyforumseasia: Aung San Suu Kyi at the crossroads?
At a time when the road to Myanmar’s presidency seems to open up for the opposition leader and translate the long years of martyrdom into political success and leadership at last, the first questions about the price to pay appear as well.
Link: Straits Times 16.3.2013
Partyforumseasia: The price Aung San Suu Kyi has to pay is linked to the change of role. Suffering under the suppression of the democracy movement at the hands of the ruling military junta propelled her to international attention as “democracy icon” and martyr, culminating with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Her courage and perseverance will continue to be admired.But taking over now a leadership role in the complex melee of Myanmar’s transition period will mean that she leaves her pedestal of democracy icon and cannot avoid stepping into the quagmire of practical involvement in day-to-day politics.
The first criticisms are coming up: Her re-election in the NLD party congress last week was unanimous of course, but reflected as well the party’s dependence on her. The 15 members of the executive committee were just nominated by “the lady” and then confirmed. And for the taste of the “younger blood” she had asked for, too many old loyalists, called the “NLD-uncles” were elected. Further criticism and disappointment comes up for her lack of addressing the smoldering Rohingya problem and other minority grievances, where she does not seem to have a better solution than the government. Finally, accepting donations from cronies of the former military regime for the party and her role in a controversial environmental case have started to dent her reputation.
See also: Soft on Sein (Foreign Affairs, 8.3.2013)
“The master stroke (of president Thein Sein) was the release of Suu Kyi. Over the last year, her global tour has made her a one-woman public-relations campaign for the regime and its carefully controlled reform process. She has rarely criticized the government’s treatment of minorities, even after hundreds of Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship, have been killed in racist pogroms in the southwest of the country beginning last summer.”