Freed Suu Kyi goes back to work | world | Hindustan Times
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Freed Suu Kyi goes back to work

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi went back to work at her National League for Democracy (NLD) party after being freed over the weekend from seven years under house arrest.

world Updated: Nov 15, 2010 13:19 IST

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi went back to work Monday at her National League for Democracy (NLD) party after being freed over the weekend from seven years under house arrest.

On Sunday, thousands of supporters massed outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon to hear Suu Kyi's first public speech since her arrest in May 2003, in which she vowed to continue struggling for democracy, reconciliation and human rights.

The 65-year-old Nobel Peace laureate spent 15 of the past 20 years under house arrest.

Her first task will be to make the NLD opposition party a legal entity again, party sources said.

It ceased to exist as a political party in May after refusing to register for the Nov 7 general election, the first held in more than 20 years.

The NLD won the 1990 polls by a landslide, but was blocked from assuming power by the military.

The party leadership decided to boycott the polls to protest the election laws that would have required it to drop Suu Kyi as a member if the NLD sought to contest the polls.

Registration rules prohibited parties from including members who were serving prison terms. Suu Kyi was freed a week after the polls.

"On Thursday we are going to lodge a case to reinstate the NLD as a legal party," spokesman Nyan Win said.

NLD security guards stopped local journalists from approaching Suu Kyi Monday morning.

Another task Suu Kyi is expected to tackle will be to assess the outcome of the Nov 7 polls, which many Western critics dismissed as a sham.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party, a junta proxy, won an estimated 80 percent of the 1,159 contested seats in the three chambers of parliament.

The party has been accused of tampering with advance ballots, and bribing or intimidating voters.

Suu Kyi said she would wait to read a report on the election compiled by the NLD before commenting on the outcome.

Another junta-friendly party, the National Unity Party, won 63 seats. The pro-democracy National Democratic Force, a breakaway from the NLD, won only 16 seats.

Two parties representing ethnic minorities did reasonably well in their states. The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party secured 57 seats, while the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party won 35.