NAYPYIDAW — Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told voters Sunday to ignore intimidation and to cast their ballots without fear in the upcoming general election.
The leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) toured a number of villages near the capital Naypyidaw despite a warning from the Union Election Committee—the body that will oversee the poll—that the official campaigning period for the Nov. 8 elections hasn’t yet begun.
But Suu Kyi said this wasn’t campaigning; it was a voter education exercise.
“Do not be scared to vote on election day, no matter if they threaten you.” she said. “No one knows which box you choose. And one thing: The more they threaten you, the more you should vote NLD.”
The election campaign will open on Sept. 8 with more than 90 parties contesting the seats.
The NLD is widely expected to make large gains at the expense of the ruling party, and may even win a majority. But the Constitution bars Suu Kyi from becoming president because she was married to a foreigner and her sons are foreign citizens.
The Naypyidaw area, where there are many government workers, is not considered to be home ground for her and her party.
As she spoke at ZabuthiriTownship, there was a small demonstration against her from a group who objected to what they said was her support for Rohingya Muslims—although in the international community Suu Kyi has been criticized for failing to speak out in the Rohingya’s defense.
More than 100,000 Rohingya now live in camps in Arakan State after being forced to flee their homes in sectarian violence in 2012. Many people in Burma consider them illegal migrants from Bangladesh.