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HKS-Economic and social crisis `wor

Subject: HKS-Economic and social crisis `working for Suu Kyi'

Hong kong Standard May 17, 1999.
Economic and social crisis `working for Suu Kyi'
STORY: YANGON: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says Myanmar's dire
economic and social crisis under the military junta is working in her
favour, but analysts warn she is losing her 10-year struggle for democracy.
Ms Suu Kyi said that Myanmar was at a crisis point with soaring inflation,
collapsing health services and an uneducated generation of young people with
little hope for the future.

But she insisted it was a ``fallacy'' to think that she, or even her
National League for Democracy (NLD), could break the military's stranglehold
on power and give people the democracy they voted for overwhelmingly in

``I don't think I myself alone can do anything. I think this is a fallacy to
think that one person or even one organisation can change a whole society,''
she said at her dilapidated party headquarters.

Ms Suu Kyi's non-violent battle with arguably one of the world's most
oppressive military regimes has been likened to the struggles of Mahatma
Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

In 1990, two years after the military killed thousands of protesters during
a pro-democracy uprising, her party won a landslide victory in Myanmar's
first democratic election in almost 30 years.

But the junta has refused to give up power, saying it must first draft a
constitution through a convention of handpicked supporters.

``We never look back. There are many differences between 1988 and now.
Everything is worse now than it was in 1988,'' she said.

``Every day that the country deteriorates, the credibility and the
respectability of the authorities suffer.''

Hundreds of NLD members have been imprisoned, detained or have died under

No one doubts her moral commitment, but analysts in Yangon are beginning to
question whether she has the political strength and versatility to win her
protracted battle against the military.

An estimated 26,000 NLD members and 18 MPs have been coaxed into
``resigning'' from the party since the latest government crackdown began
late last year. About 52 party offices have been closed. - AFP