Myanmar’s election victor Aung San Suu Kyi has invited trishaw -- or cycle rickshaw -- drivers in Yangon to an event honoring them for their supportive role during campaigns for last month’s election.
A spokesperson for the National League for Democracy (NLD), the opposition party that won the Nov. 8 polls by a landslide, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday that around 220 trishaw drivers are invited to attend the gathering at the Royal Rose restaurant next Saturday.
“They played a big role in election campaign and party’s victory,” Win Htein said. “And they are the grassroots of the country who have been long neglected by authorities.”
Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi’s party won 880 parliamentary seats -- or 77.3 percent -- out of a total of 1,139 contested seats at three levels of parliament at the polls, the first free and fair election in decades.
The sweeping victory left the party in a position to choose the country's next president.
During the campaigns, trishaw drivers across the country -- especially in big cities such as commercial capital Yangon and Pathein of the Ayeyawaddy region -- had participated in the NLD campaigns, garnering more public attention.
They had adorned their man-powered vehicles with NLD flags and even participated by the hundreds in rallies.
“Chairperson [Suu Kyi] wants to thank and honor these people in person for their support to the party, and wants to motivate them to work harder for themselves as well as for the country,” Win Htein said Sunday.
Kyin Hlaing, a 42-year-old trishaw driver in Kyauktada township in Yangon Division, told Anadolu Agency, “I joined NLD’s campaign along with my colleague trishaw driver as this is what we can do as ordinary people for change in the country."
The father of three added, “I am poor and have very hard life. It’s okay, but I don’t want my children to suffer like me.”
Trishaws -- known in Myanmar as “side-cars” -- can be found across the country, especially outside of Yangon as very few buses run the streets of other major cities and towns, requiring people to rely on trishaws and motorcycles for public transport.
While Suu Kyi is barred from the presidency by a constitutional clause saying that no one with foreign relatives can take the job -- believed to have been written with her two sons in mind – she has vowed to be "above" the president after her party secured a parliamentary majority.