The most famous name in Myanmar politics was not on any ballot paper this election, but she remains in the hearts and minds of the people. Since 1990, when her National League for Democracy humiliated the junta by winning more than 80% majority, Aung San Suu Kyi, has spent a total of 15 years under house arrest or in jail. The Nobel peace laureate and Myanmar's best-known champion of democracy was never allowed to take power. New laws written for Sunday's poll exclude her from participating. The NLD called for a boycott and has been deregistered as a political group.
The Lady, as she is known, is due to be released six days after the election, and there is speculation about whether the junta will allow her to leave her home. Military officials have been quoted confirming the release date of November 13. “November will be an important and busy month for us because of the election and because of Aung San Suu Kyi's release,” an unnamed official said.
One election candidate, a long-time friend of Aung San Suu Kyi, believes she will be released because the junta has run out of reasons to keep her locked up.
What role, if any, Aung San Suu Kyi will be allowed to play in Myanmar's post-election political landscape is unknown. The general secretary of the junta's political wing was quoted this week as saying the military would work with anyone interested in fostering progress.