Aung San Suu Kyi through the years

Aung San Suu Kyi became the first Aung San Suu Kyi in 1948, when she married Maung Lwin, a fellow student at Oxford University.

They met in 1948 after news circulated of his death. Although neither was married to anyone else, Maung Lwin was drawn to Suu Kyi because she shared his conservative views and the seriousness of their situation.

Following the outbreak of war, Aung San Suu Kyi took Maung Lwin and her seven children to Yangon in 1948, where they later settled. Suu Kyi worked as a registered nurse and he as a teacher, before marrying for the second time.

On 1 August 1949, Aung San Suu Kyi announced her engagement to Tan Swe, but she was unable to meet him in Burma because the military government was not allowing people to travel in group. Tan Swe, by then a successful businessman, was allowed to meet her a few days later.

In May 1955 the couple married in a private ceremony and the following month celebrated their wedding at the parliament building in Yangon. With less than one year before independence, they became refugees in India.

Their main home is now a museum in Yangon. In 1978, a private visit by American gay rights activist Billy Gene Huggins helped break the region’s political blockade. Suu Kyi arrived in the country but left for a short period, before returning to her home country with her children.

In 1988, Aung San Suu Kyi, now still single, stood for the presidency of Burma, but was soundly defeated in the election. Suu Kyi then took up her role as head of the National League for Democracy and led the party to the country’s first democratic elections in August 1990.

With the country’s military leaders’ ambiguous stance towards Suu Kyi, the NLD won by an overwhelming majority. While the constitution does guarantee military ownership of four ministries and their use of a quarter of the seats in parliament, it does not explicitly prevent Suu Kyi from becoming president.

The military said the result would set back the country’s peace process. Suu Kyi has called the referendum a “gross violation of the constitution” that she described as “incomprehensible” to her.

However, she has continued to hold elected government positions and has never been able to lead the NLD.

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