YANGON, Myanmar, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of people gathered in the largest city in Myanmar on Sunday to hear a speech by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi one week before general elections.
Xinhua news agency reported up to 100,000 people attended the rally in Yangon, in which Suu Kyi, head of the National League for Democracy, asserted her party would play a key role in deciding Myanmar's next government.
By contrast, a Sunday campaigning speech in the town of Dakhina Thiri by U Myint Hlaing, candidate for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, garnered an attendance of 2,000 party members and local supporters.
Myanmar's Nov. 8 elections will comprise 6,040 candidates from 91 political parties, as well as 310 independent runners, who will compete for more than 1,000 parliamentary seats.
Suu Kyi, whose two sons are British citizens, is not qualified to be nominated as president due to a clause in Myanmar's constitution that bars candidates with close foreign relatives.
Suu Kyi has indicated she intends to direct an NLD-led government from behind the scenes, a task seen as difficult given 25 percent of seats in parliament are reserved for serving military officers, requiring a party to gain 67 percent of the remaining seats to form a majority government.
"I want to win 100 percent of the seats available in government. I do not want to hear anyone citing a lower percentage or asking us what we will do if we don't win a majority of seats," The Wall Street Journal quoted Suu Kyi as saying Sunday afternoon. "We need all the seats available."
Local authorities reportedly denied a request by Suu Kyi to hold the rally at the Shwedagon Pagoda, where in 1988 she spoke against military rule two years before a landslide election victory for the NLD. The military junta threw out the results, jailed several of Suu Kyi's supporters and placed her under house arrest over the next two decades.