The results of Burma’s April 1 by-elections released by Burma’s National Election Commission confirm Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has won at least 40 of the 44 seats they contested. The results reflect the will of the Burmese people and I’m delighted that Aung San Suu Kyi, after many long years, will play a role in Burma’s national parliament.
These by-elections are the most recent development in the winding back of authoritarian rule in Burma. President Thein Sein has shown personal courage in leading Burma down its reform path. He should be congratulated and given every encouragement to continue.
Australia is committed to providing tangible rewards for progress in Burma, including by easing our sanctions. Australia will do this in a way that is proportionate with democratisation on the ground. That is, enough to encourage further reform, but not enough to remove pressure for reform.
The Australian Government has made clear we stand ready to support Burma through our aid program and by advocating greater assistance to Burma by the IMF, World Bank, UNDP and others.
Click here to read my op-ed on the Burma by-elections published in today’s Australian.