RANGOON— On her 69th birthday on Thursday, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has urged her supporters to pray for her and continue standing beside her during the country’s transition toward democracy.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) chairwoman, who was born in Rangoon in 1945, rarely makes birthday resolutions, saying that each year she is working toward the same goal.
“But on birthdays, I think it’s the time to glance back on what you have done in the past year. As a politician, I prefer to contemplate what I have done best for the country, rather than what I have gained personally,” she said in Naypyidaw.
“I wish you—my friends, colleagues, the NLD members and anyone who loves me—to enjoy wellbeing, and that you pray for me, and I urge you to keep supporting and walking with me on my ongoing political journey.”
Suu Kyi is currently in Naypyidaw to attend parliamentary meetings. On Thursday afternoon, she and other NLD lawmakers took a break to celebrate at the office of Parliament’s Rule of Law Committee, which she leads. They enjoyed a birthday cake, decorated in red like the NLD flag, and Suu Kyi invited other parliamentary staff members, including cleaners and gardeners, to join the festivities. One lawmaker from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) also attended.
Outside Parliament, her supporters in the capital marked the day by giving blood donations, a common tradition on holy days in Burma, and by attending literary talks. And at the NLD headquarters in Rangoon, party members made offerings to Buddhist monks and prayed for their leader’s good health.
A women’s group comprised of leading Burmese democracy activists released a statement on Thursday in support of Suu Kyi. The group, known as Women’s Political Action 2015, was formed to create an outlet for women’s voices in the upcoming 2015 election.
“We believe Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the most suitable candidate for the presidency at this time. We give our full support to her as our birthday present, and we will stand behind her political leadership,” the group said.
But before Suu Kyi can become president, she will need an even bigger present from Parliament, which still needs to vote on whether to amend an article in the Constitution that currently bars her from the post.