Myanmar's Suu Kyi hits out at opposition dirty tricks

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi accused some of her opponents Wednesday of being "dishonest".
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi accused some of her opponents Wednesday of being "dishonest".PHOTO: AFP

TACHILEIK, Myanmar (AFP) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi accused some of her opponents Wednesday of being "dishonest" in their campaigning ahead of crunch polls that her party is expected to sweep if the vote is free and fair.

In some of her most pointed criticisms yet of her opponents, the veteran democracy campaigner said some politicians and parties were "stooping low" during their campaigning - although she stopped short of naming names.

"As we have gone around the country campaigning for the 2015 election, we heard that some people or some political parties are breaking the rules or using dishonest ways in their campaign," she told thousands of flag-waving supporters in the eastern town of Tachileik, close to Myanmar's borders with Thailand and Laos.

The once junta-run nation heads to the polls on November 8 in what voters and observers hope will be the freest election in decades.

Myanmar was run for decades by a brutal and isolationist junta but the military ceded power to a quasi-civilian government in 2011 paving the way to this year's elections.

In recent weeks the country has been gripped by a colourful and boisterous election campaign and Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) is expected to make major gains.

The other major party contesting the vote is the army backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) loyal to former general turned current Prime Minister Thein Sein.

A myriad of smaller parties, many of them representing the country's multiple ethnic minorities, are also contesting the elections.

The road to the polls has been potholed with challenges. The impoverished country stretches from towering peaks in the north to southern tropical beaches, connected by poor infrastructure, and blighted by myriad ethnic conflicts and recent devastating floods.

NLD and USDP officials have previously accused each other of dirty tricks campaigning but neither have provided any smoking gun evidence.

But the NLD has little trust in the country's military.

Suu Kyi's party won a landslide 1990 general election, only for the junta to ignore the result and tighten its hold on power, imprisoning her for years.

At Wednesday's rally in eastern Shan State - a region long wracked by ethnic insurgencies against the central government - Suu Kyi said a vote for her party would free Myanmar from its isolated past "The light of real democracy" would enable Myanmar to escape "living under the black shadow of dictatorship", she told a crowd of a few thousand.

"I would like to urge (you all) not to give up this chance," she added.

Even if her party wins, Suu Kyi is barred by the constitution from becoming president, while a quarter of legislative seats are reserved for the military, giving them a de facto parliamentary veto.

But Suu Kyi has vowed to one day overturn that.

"This country will be developed only when the system is changed," she told the crowds.

"To change the system, we need to change the government."