Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi joined more than 30 million Myanmar citizens voting Sunday in the nation’s most important election in 25 years. What comes next may test the military’s willingness to share power with the democracy campaigner who missed the past two national polls because she was under house arrest. Suu Kyi, who is barred by the constitution from becoming president, was greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters when she arrived to vote before 9 a.m. at a school in Yangon, the country’s biggest city. Dressed in red, the color of her National League for Democracy party, she emerged minutes later with a finger dyed by purple ink, before being ushered through a crush of reporters without making any comments.
“Everybody I know is voting today,” said San Lwin Aung, a 21-year-old Muslim in Mingalar Taung Nyunt, Yangon’s most populous Muslim neighborhood. “Tonight, we will stay at home and watch the results on TV. It is all very encouraging. We want to see complete change.”
President Thein Sein said before the vote that the military and the government will accept the outcome of the election, and he’ll work with opposition parties to ensure a stable transition. The poll comes 25 years after the junta ignored a landslide victory by Suu Kyi’s NLD, eight years after it violently crushed pro-democracy protests, and five years after it handed power to its political arm in an election tainted by allegations of fraud.