Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said boycotting an upcoming historic election was an “option” if a military-drafted constitution that bars her from becoming president remains unchanged.
In an interview on Friday, the Nobel laureate told Reuters that her opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party was ready to govern but that President Thein Sein was insincere about reform and might try to postpone the election.
“The playing field is not level. And the administration is engaging in…acts which are discriminatory against the NLD. So we can’t say that it is fair, so far. I don’t think we can guarantee fair elections,” she said.
While scathing about what she called Sein’s “hardline regime”, Suu Kyi emphasised the need to reconcile with the military which detained her for 15 years until her release from house arrest in 2010.
“We don’t think that boycotting the election is the best choice,” said Suu Kyi, when asked whether her party would run with the constitution unchanged. “But we’re not ruling it out altogether. We are leaving our options open.”
She also said U.S. praise for Burma’s semi-civilian government, which took power in 2011 after nearly 50 years of brutal military rule, had made it “complacent” about reform.
“The United States would say that they have pressed the government on reform, but on the other hand they have congratulated them on what they’ve done, because they want to encourage them further in their direction,” she said.
“It simply made them more complacent. And stops them (Burma government) from doing more,” she added.
However, she stressed the importance of the November general election, describing it as “the real test of whether we are on the route to democracy or not.”
The NLD won Burma’s last real election in 1990 by a landslide, but the military nullified the result.
The party boycotted the 2010 poll, widely regarded as rigged, which installed Thein Sein, a former general and junta stalwart.