Members of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy have welcomed the election of Aung San Suu Kyi to the Parliament of Myanmar over the weekend. Ms. Suu Kyi, who spent most of the past 22 years under house arrest, is set to enter parliament for the first time.
“Like democrats everywhere, I couldn’t help being moved at the jubilant cheers of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s supporters, welcoming her victory and perhaps an important turning point in the history of Myanmar,” said Lithuanian Parliamentarian, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy Emanuelis Zingeris MP.
"Daw Suu Kyi's election to the Myanmar parliament is wonderful news, but it is only a first step. The junta needs to know that people the world over want to see a continuation of these reforms" said Laura Alonso, a parliamentarian from Argentina and a Governing Council member of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy.
“We have to be careful not to be over-optimistic,“ warned Chairman Zingeris. As U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley has noted, "Far too many political prisoners are still locked behind bars, violence continues against ethnic minorities and the military dominates not only the composition but the structure of the government."
Ms. Suu Kyi gave a video message to a Community of Democracies meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania last year. In that address, she said “In the end it is the people who have to bring about the changes that they want. It is the peoples of the world who must promote democratic values and if they can be empowered to do this, if they can understand that they have the power to do this, and if they can be energized to carry out their work, then we will not be far away from the kind of community that joins all the peoples and countries of the world.” “It is words like these, and Ms. Suu Kyi’s long struggle, that has inspired people around the world to continue to peacefully strive for greater democracy,” said Chairman Zingeris.
The Parliamentary Forum for Democracy (PFD) is an international civil society organization – made up of current and former members of parliament - dedicated to strengthening democracy and democratic institutions around the world. The goals of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy are to stand in solidarity with democrats struggling for freedom around the world, and to use the skills of its members to strengthen democratic parliaments, particularly in new and emerging democracies.