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Vatican media hails Suu Kyi electoral win

Credits NLD leader's win as 'historic' but urges caution about the country's full transition

  • Alessandro Speciale, Vatican
  • Vatican City
  • April 3, 2012
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The sweeping victory of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar's by-election over the weekend made it to the front page of the semi-official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Tuesday.

A news story headlined “The seat of hope” reported on the success of the National League for Democracy leader in the first internationally recognized vote to be held in Myanmar in more than 20 years.

“The result of the vote should bring significant economic benefits to the whole country,” wrote the Vatican newspaper, commenting on the possible lifting of United States and European Union sanctions against Myanmar.

“According to analysts, the effects of the return of Aung San Suu Kyi to Parliament and of the victory of her party will be numerous and far reaching,” L'Osservatore Romano noted, adding as a caveat that this will happen only if “former army members will allow it.”

Vatican Radio hailed the vote as an “historic day” and a “momentous event” for Myanmar.

PIME Father Massimo Cenci, undersecretary of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, praised the country's “awakening” and ascribed its merit to the NLD leader.

“Suu Kyi has stirred the people's longing not only for democracy, but for involvement in what happens in their country from the social and political point of view,” he told ucanews.com.

Nevertheless, Cenci cautioned towards those who speak of a full-fledged “transition” towards democracy: “We still need to wait and see. But what happened this weekend is exceptional for Myanmar's history.”

He said the Vatican and the Catholic Church are following the situation closely.

“We are very interested in the developments. There are still significant restrictions to Church activity there. But if the opening up of the country picks up steam, the Church will profit from it in terms of freedom.”

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Long way to go for Myanmar's reformers
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