Philippines hails Myanmar elections

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01:41 PM April 3rd, 2012

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By: Jerry E. Esplanada, April 3rd, 2012 01:41 PM

‘NEW ERA’ FOR BURMA. Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (C) waves to the crowd as she leaves National League for Democracy headquarters after addressing journalists and supporters in Yangon on April 2. Suu Kyi hailed a ‘new era’ for Myanmar and called for a show of political unity after her party claimed a major victory in landmark by-elections. AFP

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines congratulated Myanmar on Tuesday, describing the just concluded historic elections in the country  as  a “milestone in what appears to be Rangoon’s inexorable march toward democracy.”

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said, “The orderly, free and transparent election process witnessed by our election observer team in Myanmar is a breakthrough in the country’s modern history, as it took place with the full participation of opposition parties, led by the National League for Democracy under the leadership of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.”

“While it may take a few more days before the results can be certified, the real winners of this election are the Myanmar people and the Myanmar government under the leadership of President Thein Sein, who together have been able to work together and make this change possible,” said the DFA.

According to the foreign office, “the election process opens Myanmar’s future prospects not only for political reform but consequently for the socio-economic liberalization and advancement of the whole country.”

Encouraged by the development, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario reiterated Manila’s call for the international community to “favorably consider the lifting of current sanctions against Myanmar.”

Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday claimed a landslide victory for her opposition party in a historic by-election, saying she hoped it would mark the beginning of a new era for her long-repressed Southeast Asian country.

In a text message to the Inquirer from the Myanmar capital, Del Rosario said he and Suu Kyi “discussed reforms toward democracy and national reconciliation and the need for sustainability.”

Del Rosario also told the Inquirer that they also declared Manila’s “support for the lifting of sanctions against Burma and offered our proposal to develop Philippine-Burmese parliamentary friendship.”

He described as “significant” his trip to Myanmar, noting that it was “taking place when Burma is at its crossroads of history.”

Suu Kyi was released from house arrest shortly after the parliamentary elections in 2010.

Her party won a landslide victory in elections in 1990, but she was not allowed by the ruling military junta to take power.

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