Myanmar’s indomitable opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has entwined her life with the politics of her country, but as she turns 70 on Friday “The Lady” is facing one of the greatest challenges of her decades-long freedom fight. While her National League for Democracy (NLD) party is expected to triumph at key elections this year, Suu Kyi’s pathway to the presidency is blocked by a controversial clause in Myanmar’s junta-era constitution. With polls slated for November, time is running out to change the contested clause before the vote and Suu Kyi’s advancing age adds urgency to her quest of leading a democratic Myanmar. Analyst Mael Raynaud said she was likely to refocus attempts to take the top job to a later election.
But he added much would depend on her acceptance by the country’s old elites, in the form of the army and current ruling party, which remains dominated by former generals.
“The fact that she’s getting older is indeed one further reason why she would want to get the constitution changed before the 2020 elections so she could become the president then,” he told AFP.
Locked away for years by a former junta fearful of her huge popular support, Suu Kyi’s decision to compromise with former military figures has seen her take a seat in parliament and opened the way for her hermetic homeland to step onto the global stage.