Suu Kyi suspends campaign to rest

(Mizzima) – An exhausted Aung San Suu Kyi has suspended her election campaign to rest, with only one week prior to the Burmese April 1 election.

Suu Kyi speaks on her fifth visit to Kawhmu Township, the heavily dominated Karen constituency on the outskirts of Rangoon. Photo: MizzimaSuu Kyi speaks on her fifth visit to Kawhmu Township, the heavily dominated Karen constituency on the outskirts of Rangoon. Photo: Mizzima

A spokesman said on Saturday she was suffering from low blood pressure and had vomited due to exhaustion.

The intensity of a boat ride on Saturday, and long drives in searing, tropical heat while campaigning across the country to attend election rallies had taken a toll on the 66-year-old old Nobel laureate, said the spokesman.

Kyi Toe, the NLD deputy information officer, said Suu Kyi’s personal doctor, Tin Myo Win, said her ill health was due to exhaustion and the hot weather, and she had been given an intravenous drip to replenish her fluids.

NLD spokesperson Nyan Win said later, “She was sick, but her health condition has improved now. She still feels a bit tired.”

Her doctor said she might resume campaigning by Wednesday, if her health improved. She was scheduled to speak in central Burma, and one of her venues was in Natmauk, the hometown of her father, General Aung San, who was martyred shortly after independence. It is unclear if she will be able to make a scheduled stay on Sunday in Kawhmu, the low-income constituency where she is running on the outskirts of Rangoon.

On Sunday, Suu Kyi, campaigning in, Mergui, in the southernmost Burmese archipelago, was forced to take a slow boat to reach her destination after the government denied her campaign a faster vessel, one of many obstacles it has thrown up during her campaign during the past month. NLD officials have come close to declaring that the government’s actions are premeditated and intentional, preventing a free and fair election. Some observers describe the NLD’s campaign problems to a lack of democratic commitment on the part of low-level, rural government officials. High-ranking government officials have said they are committed to holding a free and fair election.

There were 48 seats open in the by-elections at various government levels, but the state Election Commission announced on Friday that voting would be postponed in there constituencies of Kachin State, citing a lack of security. Government troops and ethnic Kachin rebels have clashed repeatedly for the past nine months.

The NLD’s evaluation of the April election is seen as essential in judging whether the election is free and fair, a necessary condition for the removal of more sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European Union. Suu Kyi has declared that the election rolls across the country are tainted, and include the dead, the insane and people who no longer live in the constituency. The 2010 elections were viewed as rigged by most democratic governments.

The NLD is competing in an election for the first time since 1990. It took the 1990 election in a landslide vote, but the military regime failed to honour the results, leading to decades of repressive military rule.  It refused to participate in the 2010 election, saying it was unfair and undemocratic.

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