She is known simply as, “The Lady” and she arrived in Mandalay to the ecstatic welcome from a crowd reckoned to be around the 200,000 mark.
It was Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy Party. This was her first appearance on the election campaign trail in the country’s second largest city.
The polls next month are not just on the minds of the voters but also in the focus of the U.S. and Europe as they contemplate lifting sanctions that have stunted growth in the developing country for years. From the platform a gentle warning from the Nobel Laureate.
“It is difficult to achieve democracy.And after we achieve democracy, it is hard to maintain. We have to do a lot of work and we have to take things slowly,” she told the crowd.
Suu Kyi’s party is fielding 48 candidates in the vote which is seen by many as a symbolic challenge to a government controlled by former generals.
Despite irregularities in the country’s 2010 election, analysts expect April’s poll will be free and fair because of Suu Kyi.