Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party disbands in Burma

KyaemonMay 7, 201037min1121

Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party disbands in Burma

BANGKOK — The Burmese pro-democracy party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi chose to disband Thursday rather than recognize a government edict formally nullifying the party’s victory in 1990 elections.

Burma’s ruling military junta passed a law in March announcing the country’s first elections since that 1990 election, which was won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The law required all political parties to formally re-register to participate in the upcoming elections and officially voided the 1990 results.

NLD party officials, interviewed by telephone, said they could not be part of an election that denied the victory they have fought for two decades to claim. Many said participating would make them look like “puppets” of the brutal military regime that has turned Burma into one of the world’s most repressive states.

Amid uncertainty about the junta’s next moves, about 100 people gathered for a final meeting Friday in the NLD’s closely monitored Rangoon headquarters. Party leaders described an emotional gathering to lament the passing of a party that has fought for 20 years against the junta’s decision to grab power rather than let Suu Kyi’s party govern after the 1990 balloting.

They said that despite the formal dissolution of the party, members resolved not to take down their red signposts, shutter the headquarters or pack up their “fighting peacock” flag, the familiar trappings of a movement that has come to represent their internationally recognized cause.

“There were more people than ever in our headquarters, old ones and young ones. And some old ladies and old men are shedding their tears,” said U Win Tin, 81, a senior leader of the NLD and the chief strategist of the party since his release last year after 19 years in prison. “They are heartbroken because of the end of 20 years.”….

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Myanmar’s NLD party disbanded


Final Days at NLD Party Headquarters

NLD Holds Last Event as Legal Party

RANGOON — The party of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, founded more than 20 years ago to challenge military rule in Burma, held a final gathering Wednesday at its headquarters before its forced dissolution.

The National League for Democracy, which won a 1990 election but was denied power by the army, held an early celebration of Suu Kyi’s June 19 birthday, an occasion on which it gives children of political prisoners financial aid for their education.

UDP gains strength through cooperation | Myanmar Times

AT a press conference held on April 23, UDP (Union Democratic Party) chairman U Phyo Min Thein, a former student leader in 1988 who subsequently spent almost 15 years in jail, said, amongst other things, that international observers were needed to ensure a free and fair vote in the upcoming election.

U Phyo Min Thein said the party aimed to work within the legal framework to make “step-by-step” changes to the 2008 Constitution, approved at a referendum in May 2008, to improve the document.

The UDP was formed on April 1 after U Phyo Min Thein’s Public Democracy Party and the Union Democracy Alliance Party headed by U Shwe Ohn joined.

The new party applied to register for the election with the Union Election Commission on April 8 – the 12th party to apply since the release of registration bylaws on March 17.

“We have invited all democratic groups to come to our office and discuss joining together to create one larger party and the Union Democracy Alliance party decided to combine with us,” U Phyo Min Thein told The Myanmar Times last week.

“We thought competing as separate groups would make it confusing for the public and I want voters to have a clear idea. In the future we would like to cooperate with other parties too,” he said.

Party patron U Shwe Ohn said he believed the UDP could become the strongest political force in Myanmar.

“Our Union Democracy Alliance is supported by ethnic groups in seven states and the Public Democracy Party is supported by middle-aged people from seven divisions. Each of us has the support which the other does not have and that is the reason why I believe that our party will become the strongest party in the future,” said U Shwe Ohn, who is famous for attending the historic Panglong Conference as a representative of the Myanma Alin newspaper.

“We have not yet decided how many people from our party will contest the election. It will depend on the reaction from the public once we start campaigning around the country. But so far we anticipate fielding candidates for all the Hluttaws (houses of parliament),” he said.

Parties are required to pay an K800,000 (about US$800) registration fee for each candidate they nominate to run in the election, according to election laws released in March. Parties are required to field candidates in at least three constituencies in any Hluttaw.

According to the party’s funding policy, the Union Democratic Party will be funded by party member fees, donations from public and income from party-owned businesses, as permitted under election laws. Once the Union Democratic Party has been official registered, it will issue regular cash flow statements to the public in order to be “transparent”, U Phyo Min Thein said.

U Phyo Min Thein was a former student leader from Thanlyin township who participated in the general strike in 1998. He was an executive secretary of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Lower Burma) in 1990 but was detained in 1991 and spent almost 15 years in prison before his release in July 2005.

NLD Members to Form New Party

Some leading members of Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), who disagreed with the party’s decision to boycott this year’s general election, have said they will announce the founding of a new political party in the coming days that will contest the polls.

The party, to be called the National Democratic Force, will be registered at the Election Commission sometime in the middle of this month, and will be headed by several members of the NLD, according to Dr. Than Nyein, a former political prisoner and a member of the NLD, who is expected to lead the new party.

“We are not in opposition to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said. “We just wish to continue our political activities. If we don’t do this, we won’t be able to achieve anything.”

The NLD will automatically cease to exist at midnight on Thursday as that is the deadline for all existing political parties in Burma to register under the junta’s election laws. In March, the party and its detained leader Suu Kyi decided against the party registering under what it called “unjust and unfair” election laws.

Dr. Than Nyein said that leading party members Dr. Win Naing, Thein Nyunt, Sein Hla Oo and several others will join the new party. Another prominent NLD leader, Khin Maung Swe, said that at least 20 Central Committee members will join the new party, to which he would serve as an adviser.

The Irrawaddy could not independently verify how many NLD members were preparing to join the new party.

Asked how much public support his party can expect without pro-democracy icon Suu Kyi at the helm,  Dr. Than Nyein said that he is positive the new party will win the support of the people. He said the leaders of the new party will meet to decide how many constituencies the party will contest…

Former NLD grouping to form party

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Former National League for Democracy party central committee members and other members are set to form a new political party, the National Democratic Force, to contest this year’s election, a party spokesman said.

Former NLD central committee members Khin Maung Swe, Dr. Than Nyein, Dr. Win Naing, Thein Nyunt, Thein Hla Oo, Soe Win, Than Win and 21 other party members reached the decision at a meeting in Rangoon today.

“A group that shared the goal of forming a political party reached a common position today. We shall officially release this news within three days”, party former central executive committee and information chief Khin Maung Swe said.

The new party will be called the National Democratic Force, he said.

Dr. Than Nyein said the objectives of the new party were to fulfil the promise made to Burmese people in 1990 to establish a democratic country; maintain the strength of NLD party members for the voters who wished to vote for the party; and carry out political work under a legal framework.

Khin Maung Swe told Mizzima that the group would in the middle of the month apply for party registration with the Election Commission in Naypyidaw.