Only eighteen months ago, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest. Today, the pro-democracy leader and several other members of the National League for Democracy have taken their newly won seats in Burma’s parliament. For the first time in the country’s history, Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her party will have a role and voice in government.
I would like to send my congratulations to these pro-democracy leaders, other newly elected Members of Parliament, and the hundreds of thousands of voters for their courage and commitment to achieving a more representative and responsive government. President Thein Sein and his government have also taken important strides toward democracy and national reconciliation.
This is an important moment for Burma’s future. A genuine transition toward multi-party democracy leading to general elections in 2015 will help build a more prosperous society. I encourage all political parties, civil society representatives and ethnic minority leaders to work together to address challenges and seize new opportunities for a more democratic, free, peaceful, and prosperous future.