(WASHINGTON) -- Once under house arrest for 20 years in Myanmar, pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi appears ready to take a seat in parliament.
Supporters of Suu Kyi were claiming victory Sunday after historic elections in Myanmar, which the U.S. still calls Burma.
It was a far cry from the last time voters went to the polls. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner was still confined and her National League for Democracy had boycotted the elections.
What helped prompt this turn of events was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visits to Myanmar last December. It was the first time a U.S. secretary of state had stepped foot in the country in more than half-a-century.
The military has ruled Myanmar with an iron fist for decades but human rights have slowly gotten better since a civilian government with strong ties to the army assumed power in 2010.
Should foreign monitors determine that the election was legitimate and representative of the people's will, international sanctions against Myanmar could be lifted or eased.
Clinton announced last January that full diplomatic ties were being reestablished and the two nations would exchange ambassadors.
The White House issued a statement on the elections:
"We congratulate the people of Burma on their participation in the electoral process, and Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy on their strong showing in the polls. This election is an important step in Burma’s democratic transformation, and we hope it is an indication that the Government of Burma intends to continue along the path of greater openness, transparency, and reform."
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