YANGON, Sept. 8 (CNA) - Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi launched her re-election bid on Tuesday (Sep 8) ahead of polls set for November, vowing victory at a scaled-down ceremony in the capital after her original plans were scuppered by a surge in coronavirus cases.

“Today, our victory campaign has begun,” she said, before hoisting the party's flag at the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Naypyidaw at an event broadcast on her Facebook page.

The election is set to serve as a test of the country’s first democratic government in half a century, and is seen by analysts as an important test of Myanmar's transition away from direct military rule as it grapples with crises on multiple fronts.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who rules as state counsellor, had planned to launch her campaign in the commercial capital of Yangon but cancelled the trip on Monday on advice of the health ministry.

Wearing a red mask decorated with a peacock, the emblem of the NLD, and a plastic face shield, she thanked supporters for flying the party's red flag at their homes across the country.

“I’d like to say that to make our victory flag long-lasting means making the nation’s peace, development and prosperity long-lasting,” she said.

The NLD, which won a landslide at 2015 polls that ended half a century of military and military-backed rule, is expected to win again, though by a lesser margin.

The party remains overwhelmingly popular despite criticism over its failure to curb the power of the army or end escalating ethnic conflicts. It has also faced international condemnation over a 2017 military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority.

"I support the NLD because I love Mother Suu," declared Zaw Min, 43, whose Yangon trishaw stood festooned with the party's flags, matching his red T-shirt, baseball cap and mask.

But the armed forces are still hugely powerful in a country governed under a Constitution written by the former military government.

The military controls three key ministries and 25 per cent of parliamentary seats – effectively giving the institution a veto on legislation.

In August, Aung San Suu Kyi reminded the country on Facebook why her party needed every vote.

"We can't just get more than 50 per cent of elected seats like in a normal democracy."