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NLD leaders conduct voter education campaign

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese main opposition force, the National League for Democracy, has recently embarked on a different kind of political campaign – one of voter education, senior party leaders said.

voter-eductionA group of party central executive committee members are currently touring the south of Burma, even though the military government disbanded it as a party in May after the group refused to register with the junta’s electoral watchdog.

Nyan Win, May Win Myint, Han Thar Myint, Tenasserim Division NLD branch chairman Hla Min, and secretary Aung Soe met NLD Kawthaung Township members from Chaungsalam, Tharnyonparda and Palonethone Thone villages.

“We don’t campaign for voting in the upcoming election but we told them the voters’ rights provided by the law,” lawyer Nyan Win. “The voter the right to choose whether to vote or not in the election … The law stipulates no one can intimidate the voter either to vote or not.”

This trip was neither for NLD campaigning nor to recruit new members, he said, added that it was to consolidate unity among the central leadership and the grass roots and to campaign for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, he said.

He also said he was pleased to hear that NLD members had agreed with the decision taken by the central leadership to pull out of the upcoming election when he met NLD members from six townships at the residence of Pyi Township NLD branch head Dr. Khin Maung Win last Friday.

Kawthaung Township NLD Youth wing deputy leader Ko Maung Nge from Palonethone Thone village said highlight of the senior party members’ trip was the interaction between the central leadership and grass-roots members.

“Uncle [Nyan Win] came here not to expand our party or constituting our party unit. He explained to us that they came here to re-establish contact with central leadership and to boost our morale. Uncle said to us that we could do as we wish, to vote or not to vote. No one can prosecute us for exercising our rights, he explained to us. But he didn’t say anything about voting or not voting,” he told Mizzima.

At least 40 to 50 NLD members attended the meeting held at Kawthaung Township NLD office and he was reportedly pleased to see unity and solidarity among the Kawthaung NLD members.

NLD senior members including Nyan Win had visited party members in Pegu, Pyi and Letpadan in Pegu Division and four townships in Kawthaung Township.

Though there was no harassment from authorities along their trips, the authorities took photographs of their movements from a distance of about 40 feet (12 metres), Nyan Win said.

The visits were the idea of party general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi, who had urged the senior members to visit the party’s grass roots when she met Nyan Win in early June.

Similarly, from June 12 to August 3, Win Tin, Ohn Kyaing, Nyan Win, May Win Myint and Han Thar Myint visited NLD members in Kachin, Karen, Mon, Rakhine, and Southern Shan states, Mandalay, Magway and Sagaing divisions for talks.

Party leaders led by Suu Kyi and Tin Oo went on a nationwide roadshow in 2003, but faced an assassination attempt in Depayin on May 30 when at least 5,000 junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association members attacked their convoy. At least 70 people associated with the NLD were killed in the well-organised assault.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 August 2010 11:39 )  
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Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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