• Germany's news in English

Merkel hails 'democratic election' in Burma

The Local · 2 Apr 2012, 12:36

Published: 02 Apr 2012 12:36 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the German leader had followed the by-elections Sunday "with great interest", and she felt they underlined the success of the country's nascent reform process.

"The citizens of the country have given a very impressive mandate for the future political work of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate," he said at a press conference.

"The opposition and the government should now be encouraged after this by-election to continue on the path of democratisation and reforms that they embarked on together," he added.

Seibert said the "largely democratic election" marked an "important success on the path of national reconciliation and democratic opening in Burma."

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party said it was on course to win all 44 seats it contested in the by-elections, in which a total of 45 seats were at stake - not enough to threaten the army-backed ruling party's huge majority in parliament.

The results marked a stunning turnaround for Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner, who was locked up by the former junta for most of the past 22 years.

After almost half a century of military rule, the junta handed power to a new government led by President Thein Sein a year ago.

The regime has surprised even its critics with a string of reforms such as releasing hundreds of political prisoners.

But remaining political captives, fighting between government troops and rebels, and alleged human rights abuses remain concerning for Western nations, who have imposed sanctions on the regime.

EU Parliament president Martin Schulz said he was "encouraged" by the elections "despite reported irregularities, which I hope will be addressed promptly by the authorities."

Story continues below…

"I am convinced this vote will be deemed as historic," he said. "If followed by further reforms, it could be a turning point in Myanmar's history, marking the departure from autocracy to the path of democracy."

He renewed his invitation for Suu Kyi, who had spent much of the past two decades under house arrest, to visit the European Parliament to receive the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which she was awarded in 1990.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd