Aung San Suu Kyi Falls Ill, Leaves Rally

Posted March 3rd, 2012 at 9:20 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi left one of the biggest rallies of her election campaign, telling aides she felt unwell.

The 66-year-old pro-democracy leader flew from Rangoon to Mandalay, Burma's second largest city, Saturday, part of a rigorous campaign schedule ahead of by-elections on April 1.

She told the crowd in Mandalay the road ahead would be difficult but that they should maintain their faith in a better future. She also said the crowd was the largest she had since since 1988, the year she led a pro-democracy uprising that was brutally put down by the former military regime.

But Aung San Suu Kyi then left the stage, telling aides she felt weak and unwell.

Doctors and aides say she was taken to a hotel room to rest and is feeling better.

Aung San Suu Kyi announced weeks ago that she planned to run for parliament in Kawhmu, a poor district south of Rangoon. But a rival challenged her right to be a candidate, forcing the election commission to issue its ruling Tuesday approving her candidacy.

The National League for Democracy is attempting to return to parliament for the first time since its landslide electoral victory two decades ago. The military prevented it from taking power at that time.

The party refused to participate in elections in 2010 because of rules that ensured victory by a pro-military party and prevented Aung San Suu Kyi from being a candidate. But the government that came to power as a result has instituted a number of democratic reforms, including allowing the National League for Democracy to re-register as a political party.