Myanmar's Suu Kyi says 'too early' to commit to 2015 election

Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends the National League for Democracy Party's central comity meeting at a restaurant in Yangon December 13, 2014. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
By Jared Ferrie
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

By Jared Ferrie YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi called on the government on Tuesday to hold a transparent election next year and said her party was waiting for a poll date to be set before deciding whether to run. The Nobel laureate said it was "too early" to commit, when asked at a news conference if her party would contest the ballot scheduled for the end of 2015. "As I'm not an astrologer, I cannot say what the situation will be," she said. "I'm just a politician. As politicians we can calculate, but we can't assume the situation will happen as we calculate." Her reluctance to commit could further complicate a standoff in Myanmar centered on her National League for Democracy (NLD) party's bid to change the constitution, which has seen resistance from a military to which the charter grants a hefty political stake. The NLD pulled out of a constitution-drafting process in 1995, five years after its election win was ignored by the ruling military. It refused to run in the 2010 elections because of "unfair and unjust" rules and two years later, after winning 43 seats in a by-election, it initially refused to take its parliament seats because of the wording of a swearing-in oath. Suu Kyi said on Tuesday the NLD was waiting for the government to release "rules and regulations" for the election, which would be the first since a semi-civilian government took power in 2011 after 49 years of military rule. The party would "announce officially whether we will take part in the elections or not once the government releases an election date officially", Suu Kyi said. She has been frustrated in her attempts to reform the constitution, which reserves a quarter of parliamentary seats and key government posts for the military and bars her from the presidency, because her sons are foreign nationals. The NLD has collected about five million signatures in support of its campaign to reduce the military's role in politics, while its efforts to discuss the issue with President Thein Sein and military chief Min Aung Hlaing have failed. (Editing by Martin Petty)