Aung San Suu Kyi eyes army power base

2012-03-05 13:00

Yangon - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi travelled on Monday to Myanmar's administrative capital, Naypyidaw, taking her election campaign to the heart of the military-backed government's power base.

Shrugging off a bout of illness that caused her to cut short a speech to 100 000 supporters in the northern city of Mandalay over the weekend, Suu Kyi, aged 66, departed for Naypyidaw early on Monday on a route that took her through Yada-U, Natogyi and Meiktila townships.

The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is running for a parliament seat in an April 1 by-election, received a tumultuous welcome along the route with thousands of supporters shouting her name and waving the flags of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

NLD officials in the commercial capital, Yangon, said Suu Kyi was expected to arrive in Naypyidaw on Monday evening.

Naypyidaw was established in 2005 by the then-military dictator, General Than Shwe, in a remote, arid region 400km north of Yangon, reportedly because he feared a popular uprising or foreign invasion of the old capital, formerly known as Rangoon.

Suu Kyi has called for reconciliation with the powerful military while urging soldiers to vote for the NLD as the true heir to General Aung San, her father, who led the fight for independence from Britain.

After a brief stay in Naypyidaw, her first campaign visit to the city, Suu Kyi was scheduled to return to Yangon and then depart on another campaign tour of Mon State, east of Yangon, on March 10.