Aung San Suu Kyi Meets Australian PM

By The Associated Press 28 November 2013

CANBERRA — Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday as she travels the country seeking backing for changes to Burma’s Constitution, which currently prevents her from becoming president.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate met with Abbott and later spoke to journalists about her fight for fair elections.

“We are just starting out on the road to democracy. We are not there yet, as some people seem to assume,” she said. “Without amendments to the Constitution, we can never become a truly democratic society.”

The military regime that governed until 2011 shut Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party out of politics, but last year she and several dozen party members won parliamentary seats.

A clause in the army-dictated Constitution disqualifies her from becoming president. The 68-year-old is now seeking the constitutional changes that would allow her to run.

“Certainly we think that there should be free and fair elections in Burma and they should be conducted on the proverbial level playing field,” Abbott said.

Suu Kyi is in Australia on a five-day trip to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. On Wednesday, she received two honorary doctorate degrees during a ceremony in her honor at Sydney’s Opera House.