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Suu Kyi's NLD marks Silver Jubilee with charter plea

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Aung San Suu Kyi marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party Friday with a fresh appeal to overhaul the country's military-drafted constitution.

"If the constitution is not amended, we cannot say that the country is going on the democracy track... the 2015 general elections will not be fair," Suu Kyi said.

The charter -- approved in a referendum in 2008 as Myanmar reeled from a devastating cyclone -- is a major obstacle to Suu Kyi's ambition to run for president in the 2015 elections.

It blocks anyone whose spouses or children are overseas citizens from leading the country, a clause widely believed to be targeted at the Nobel laureate, whose two sons are British.

It also ring-fences a quarter of the seats in parliament for unelected military personnel.

Hundreds of party members and supporters gathered at the NLD's ramshackle offices in central Yangon to celebrate the party's Silver Jubilee.

In a speech shown on a screen to a crowd that spilled onto the street outside, Suu Kyi thanked supporters around the world for standing behind the party in its long struggle against repression.

"We have been able to survive for the last 25 years because of the stand and support of the people from all over the world who believe in the same values in which we believe," she said.

The NLD was founded in 1988 after a popular uprising against the military junta that left thousands dead.

Two years later, the party won elections in a landslide -- but the results were never recognised by the regime.

Suu Kyi was under house arrest at the time and spent much of the following two decades in detention, until she was freed after controversial elections in 2010.

The democracy icon is now an opposition lawmaker as part of sweeping reforms under a new quasi-civilian regime that took office in 2011.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130927/suu-kyis-nld-marks-silver-jubilee-charter-plea