Burma Times Correspondent: October 19, 2015
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in her weekend election campaign in Arakan state called for communal harmony and urged Rakhines not to be swayed by anti Muslims rhetoric.
Aung Saan Suu Kyi was speaking from the southern town of Thandwe followed by a meeting in Tangup. Anaylysts believe she was merely countering propaganda by Buddhist nationalists who are weighed favourably for the right wing regional party ANP.
While Suu Kyi’s party is expected to do well nationally, analysts say in Arakan state, the NLD is likely to be defeated by the Rakhine outfit ANP. Rohingyas are barred from voting in the elections further diminishing the chance of the NLD which could have counted on that vote bank.
NLD has however refused overtures by Muslim politicians and has decided not to field Muslim candidates anywhere in the country. Many Rohingyas and human rights activists were stunned by Suu Kyi when she refused to support the beleaguered community during the 2012 riots and in the aftermath.
But Buddhist nationalists have accused Suu Kyi of harbouring sympathies towards the Muslims.
Suu Kyi will avoid the North Western parts of the state including Akyab where the Rohingyas live. Suu Kyi has been careful to distance herself from the community and it is likely she sees little benefit in stirring up controversy in a part of the country where her party is expected to do badly. Suu Kyi is seen as having a better chance in the south of the country where Buddhist nationalists have lesser influence.
Rakhine support for the ANP also signals the community’s aspirations to create a semi independent state in the area whereas NLD stands for an united Myanmar.