Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has formally declared her intention to seek a second term in November’s national elections.
On Tuesday, seventy-five-year-old Ms. Suu Kyi arrived at the outskirts of the former national capital, Yrangoon, where she submitted an application to run as a candidate.
As she entered the premises of the election commission, Ms. Suu Kyi waved to a crowd of excited supporters, many of who shouted: “Mother Suu, be healthy.”
Many others among the crowd wore red-coloured face masks denoting their backing for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Ms. Suu Kyi will be seeking another four-year term in polls widely seen as a test of Myanmar’s nascent democratic reforms.
After decades of military rule, the political-prisoner-turned-national leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for democracy, took the reins in 2016, following an electoral landslide. But since then, she has been forced to share power with the generals.
Her international reputation dipped over Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims, but she remains popular at home, where her image is undented by accusations of complicity in atrocities against the minority.
In 2017, a military-led crackdown in the country resulted in more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border to Bangladesh, where they took shelter in refugee camps. UN investigators concluded that the military campaign had been executed with “genocidal intent”.
In January, Ms. Suu Kyi admitted that war crimes may have been committed against the Rohingya, but denied genocide, accusing the refugees of exaggeration.
Two months earlier, majority-Moslem Gambia had filed a suit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing the Myanmar authorities of “ongoing genocide” against the Rohingya.
On the domestic front, Ms. Suu Kyi’s government has had faltering peace talks with ethnic armed groups across the country, amid a worsening economy already hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.