National League for Democracy (NLD) Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi has called on the ethnic minority peoples of Burma to keep alive the spirit of national reconciliation.
Speaking in Naypyidaw on Thursday to NLD members who had travelled in from Karen State, she said, “I would like to urge you to keep alive the spirit of national reconciliation, which brings about mutual understanding and mutual respect, and allows us to help each other, whether it be among our own ethnic people or among all [Burmese] citizens – all the people of the union, regardless of race, religion, language or place of birth.”
Addressing 260 representatives from across Karen State, Suu Kyi proclaimed that the NLD is an “all-ethnic party” and would compete as such in the next general election.
“Elections are one of the unavoidable processes you must pass through if you want democracy,” she said. “But elections alone do not make a democracy. Of course, there is no democracy without free and fair elections, but they are not the only thing. There are other things [to consider].
“That’s why I have told our members many times that if you want democracy, you must be responsible. You must be responsible to achieve and maintain the rights you seek. We must try hard. If you try hard and contest the 2015 elections in the correct way, it will help to establish the Union that the people desire.”
Following the meeting, the NLD chairperson for Karen State, Nan Khin Htwe Myint, spoke to DVB.
“We want people from rural areas to know that they can visit parliament,” she said. “In the past, people thought parliament was unrelated to them. I brought people in from the countryside. We met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Our study group includes Karen, Mon and Pa-O ethnic nationalities. It was colorful with them wearing their traditional costumes.”