Pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi said today that by-elections due to take place on Sunday are unlikely to be free and fair, citing widespread voting irregularities and violence against her party’s candidates and members. “I do not think that we can say the by-election is going to be free and fair. Some of the irregularities were committed by those in official positions,” she told a news conference at her home in Yangon. “While we recognize that even in well-established democracies there are irregularities and misdemeanors when elections take place, what has been happening in this country [is] really beyond what is acceptable for a democratic election,” the 66 year old Nobel laureate said. “I hope that enough will happen next week after the result of the election is announced to energize our people; they have their part to play in shaping the path of the country,” the 66 year old Nobel laureate added. The National League for Democracy (NLD) leader also condemned what she said were attempts to intimidate NLD candidates through acts of violence. She said there have been attempts to injure candidates and cited two cases in which stones or other objects were thrown at party members. Suu Kyi is contesting one of the 45 seats up for grabs in the April polls which are seen as a key test of Myanmar’s reforms. The government hopes they will lead to the lifting of Western sanctions. Three elections in Kachin State have been postponed after officials cited security concerns.
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