12 May 2011

No 'meaningful change' in Myanmar: Suu Kyi

BERLIN - No 'meaningful change' has taken place since Myanmar's first elections in 20 years in November, recently released opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in comments due to be broadcast this week.

'So far I haven't seen any meaningful change,' Ms Suu Kyi said in a phone-in with German broadcaster DW-TV and students at the Hertie School of Management in Berlin recorded on Tuesday.

'I know there have been elections but the government that has taken over since the elections are the same as those who were in place before the elections ... We are still waiting to see whether there has been real change.'

Ms Suu Kyi, 65, was released in November after spending most of the past 20 years under house arrest in Myanmar, also known as Burma. Her release came a few days after elections marred by accusations of cheating and intimidation.

In March the military junta made way for a nominally civilian government after almost half a century in power and Than Shwe, the general who ruled Myanmar with an iron fist for 19 years, retired as head of the military.

Last month a friend of Ms Suu Kyi, Mr U Myint, was appointed as an adviser to Myanmar's president. But the army hierarchy retains a firm grip on power. Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party was disbanded for opting to boycott the election because the rules seemed designed to bar her from participating. -- The Straits Times

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