Suu Kyi courts minority vote in Kachin State


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks to supporters during her campaign in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, 2 October 2015. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks to supporters during her campaign in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, 2 October 2015. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s message for her first crowd of supporters in an electoral campaign tour of Kachin State was “vote for the party, not the candidate.” 

Opposition National League for Democracy chairperson Suu Kyi was speaking Friday morning at Nat Kyawt ground in Myitkyina to about two to three thousand supporters, after flying in to Myitkyina to begin her electoral canvassing tour of Kachin State.

NLD member U Zaw Ye Htet, who is one of the thousands of people showing up to welcome Daw Suu, told Mizzima that he, along with other NLD supporters, went to Nat Kyawt Ground where Daw Suu would deliver her electoral speech. The Nat Kyawt Ground is located west of the Manau Ground.

Since Thursday evening, police have locked the Manau Ground, where Suu Kyi initially planned to deliver her speech, so she had to quickly plan to deliver her electoral speech in the Nat Kyawt Ground in the city, according to an official at Kachin State NLD's electoral campaign office.

Suu Kyi, 70, wearing a black Kachin dress and necklace, told voters in war-torn Kachin State that her opposition party represents the "whole" of Myanmar and not just the majority ethnic group, as she courts the crucial minority vote ahead of November's landmark polls.

"The NLD does not represent any one ethnic group, including the (majority) Bamar ethnic group. We represent the whole union," she told the crowd. 

Kachin, together with Myanmar's six other minority-dominated states, has become a key election battleground as ethnic parties are expected to make strong gains in the November 8 polls.

Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to build alliances with these groups and on Friday the NLD was trying to woo minority voters in an election the party is tipped to win if free and fair.

"If you want change, please vote for the NLD," she told the crowd.

Suu Kyi also took questions from the crowd. 

Kachin State has seen around 100,000 people displaced since fighting reignited between the Myanmar military and ethnic rebels from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in 2011.

Unsurprisingly the issue of self-administration was one of the first raised in questions from the crowd to the Nobel Laureate and it's one she avoided answering directly.

An NLD government would introduce the "system that people want, with their support and cooperation", she said carefully.

Additional reporting from AFP

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