Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says Myanmar authorities censored one of her key election campaign speeches by removing her criticism of the former junta.
Aung San Suu Kyi waves to supporters after addressing a rally in the capital, Nay Pyi Daw on Tuesday last week. She urged members of the military to support her party in the April byelections as she campaigned on the regime’s doorstep.
Suu Kyi, who is standing in April 1 byelections, told Radio Free Asia on Friday that officials had removed a paragraph from the text of her speech to be aired on state media as part of a broadcast by her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).
“I had to submit my speech ahead of time and one paragraph was censored,” she said.
“The part about how there wasn’t rule of law and the military government had repeatedly used the law to repress the people, that is censored.”
Myanmar was controlled by the military for almost five decades until an army-backed government took power early last year. The new government has since taken a number of surprising strides towards reform.
Suu Kyi, who spent much of the past 22 years under house arrest, has been welcomed back into the political mainstream and her NLD is contesting all 48 seats available in the upcoming byelections.
While it is not enough to threaten the ruling party, which is dominated by former generals, the vote is being closely watched as a test of the authenticity of the quasi-civilian government’s desire to reform.
Suu Kyi expressed concern on Thursday that dead people were appearing on voter rolls, telling Canada’s foreign minister that she had asked the election commission to address the issue.
Suu Kyi was under house arrest during the last general election in 2010, which was boycotted by the NLD and marred by widespread complaints of cheating.
Observers believe the regime wants Suu Kyi to win a seat in the byelections to give its reformist programme legitimacy and spur the West into easing sanctions against the country.