Burmese people hope Aung Sang Suu Kyi's evolution from prisoner to president - in all but name - can herald new era

Burmese hope Aung Sang Suu Kyi can herald new era. Credit: Reuters

Rangoon - Aung San Suu Kyi always chooses her words carefully and as she uttered one sentence here today it emphatically sounded like a gauntlet being thrown down.

‘The Constitution says nothing about somebody being above the President.’

That’s bold. Burma’s constitution prohibits her from becoming president, but she doesn’t intend to allow that to prevent her from becoming her country’s leader.

That would sound arrogant from anyone other than this democracy heroine. But then Aung San Suu Kyi is used to overcoming obstacles.

In 2008, Burma’s ruling generals wrote a constitution barring anyone with foreign relatives from becoming president. Ms Suu Kyi’s two sons have British passports.

But that clause is a shackle she intends to, at first, ignore, and eventually, to break.

"If the support of the people is clear and strong enough you can overcome minor problems like constitutions."

Ms Suu Kyi and her party – the National League for Democracy – expect to win Sunday’s general election. The only doubt is the margin of victory. Most observers expect a landslide.

Ms Suu Kyi has always put her country first. Now her country is going to return the favour. It will be a huge achievement for a woman released from house arrest five years ago this month.

Sunday’s election will probably see a huge turn-out. With a thumping mandate Ms Suu Kyi will pressure the ruling military to ease their stranglehold on running the country.

Decades of brutal repression have made this one of the poorest countries in the world. People desperately hope that Ms Suu Kyi’s evolution from prisoner to president, in all but name, will herald in a new era.