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Suu Kyi victory raises hopes for Burma's rural poor

Aung Sang Suu Kyi claims by-election win Photo: AP

Her constituency Kamu is separated from Rangoon by 60 miles and three centuries.

It is the land that time and a dictatorship forgot.

Some people living there still use the ox and cart. Most live without electricity and running water.

Now they have elected their new MP, Aung San Suu Kyi, the famous former prisoner of conscience and Nobel Laureate.

Can she make life better in a country stalled for decades by the twin evils of repression and indifference?

She's decided to try to do so by being a change agent within. In truth her efforts to be a change agent from without - however stoic and admirable- didn't achieve very much, other than to burnish her credentials as an icon.

Supporters celebrate Aung Sang Suu Kyi's by-election win Credit: Reuters

But then sixteen months ago the regime decided to take a chance and release her.

They then freed other political prisoners and made it possible for Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, to stand in these by-elections.

The Lady has decided to take a chance on the regime and to enter the parliament it controls.

She seems to be doing so with a powerful mandate. The turn-out and support for the NLD were massive.

The former generals will want something for their acquiescence, and western sanctions will probably be eased.

That will mean investment flowing into Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi will be keeping a close eye on where the money goes. With a seat on the inside she might get the power on and the water flowing in her constituency.

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