YANGON • Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told tens of thousands of supporters yesterday to be vigilant against election fraud during a huge show of strength a week before landmark elections.
The country heads to the polls this Sunday in what observers are hoping will be the fairest election for decades as the nation slowly shakes off almost a half-century of brutal military rule.
It will be the first nationwide election in 25 years to be contested by Ms Suu Kyi's pro-democracy party, potentially tipping the balance of power away from the military and its ruling party allies for the first time in generations if the vote is free.
"We do not need to work with dirty ways," Ms Suu Kyi, 70, told a sea of supporters in eastern Yangon, her first major rally in the commercial hub and by far the largest gathering yet for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
"We will act until we win the correct way... We all need to be fully vigilant," she added.
Myanmar was run for decades by a brutal junta which jailed, killed and exiled dissidents while fixing elections or simply ignoring their results.
But the military ceded power to a quasi-civilian government in 2011, paving the way for this year's historic polls.
Yesterday's rally is expected to be the last major NLD gathering as electioneering enters its final week, with campaigning ceasing at dawn on Friday.
Tens of thousands streamed into an outdoor parade ground yesterday next to a Buddhist temple in an eastern district of Yangon.
While the NLD is expected to make gains at the polls, Ms Suu Kyi is barred by the Constitution from becoming president.
The run-up to the polls has been marred by allegations of dirty tricks, complaints over the pre-poll preparations and concerns that significant minority groups are unrepresented and disenfranchised.