YANGON - Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi called for "clean politics" in a video message marking her 70th birthday yesterday, saying looming elections would be crucial in deciding the country's future.
Ms Suu Kyi and her party are expected to make sweeping gains at the polls slated for October or November, in what is seen as one of the greatest tests yet of the former military-ruled nation's transition towards democracy.
The Nobel laureate, who entered Parliament in 2012 after landmark by-elections following a decades-long democracy struggle, said this year was a "very important time" for Myanmar.
"How this election is held, what the results are and what the situation in the country is after the election will not just have an impact this year, or next year, but for many years to come," she said in a recorded message posted on Facebook.
Ms Suu Kyi, currently barred from becoming president by a junta-era Constitution, also called for "clean politics". "Only if we have clean politics can our country develop in peace," she added.
She has declined to rule out a boycott of the polls as she campaigns to change the Constitution. It excludes anyone who has foreign children from top political office. Her two sons are British.
Analysts say she is unlikely to succeed in changing the charter in time, as she faces strong opposition from military MPs who hold a quarter of parliamentary seats.