Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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Restrictions on NLD obstacle to General Assembly

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Leaders of Burma’s National League for Democracy responding to requests on Thursday by party members to call a General Assembly said they are not in a position to call a nation-wide meeting due to the current political restrictions imposed on the party.

The NLD, in a statement, said while it understands the need for a General Assembly in order to reform and strengthen the Central Committee and Central Executive Committee of the party, since party General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi and Vice-Chairman Tin Oo are detained and no other branch offices across the country are allowed to function, it is not possible now to convene the assembly.

In September, several members of branch NLD offices in various states and divisions made renewed demands to the Central Executive Committee to convene a General Assembly and urged it to reform the party leadership by reconstituting the Central Committee, most of whose members are under detention or had died.

NLD members of at least 25 townships in Mandalay, Pegu, Magwe and Rangoon division have demanded that the CEC convene the Assembly and implement party reformation by filling in places in the CC and CEC, whose members are unable to perform their functions due to various reasons including incarceration and deaths.

But the party’s statement on Thursday said, “The Central Executive Committee will discuss the issue when the CEC meets Aung San Suu Kyi or will decide when necessary, when the government announces the party registration laws.”

Khin Maung Swe, a CEC member of the NLD told Mizzima that technically it is not viable for the NLD to convene a General Assembly as the party’s branch offices have been closed down, members restricted from organizing party activities and several key leaders being in detention.

Over the last two decades, the 1990 election winning party is the only political party remaining in Burma, as the ruling junta banned all other parties. But the NLD also suffered several set-backs including the closure of branch offices across the country and the arrest and detention of key leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi.

However, some members in various states and divisions have time and again demanded that the party leaders reform and strengthen the CEC and CC. Some have even demanded a few aging leaders including party chairman Aung Shwe step down and make way for the younger generation, to help find a way out of the political impasse.

In April, the NLD held the second nation-wide party meeting, attended by representatives of all branches across the country. The first nation-wide meeting was held in 1997, when party leader Aung San Suu Kyi was briefly released from house arrest.

But Khin Maung Swe said the party had never convened a General Assembly, since its formation in September 1988, as it requires step by step Assemblies to be conducted from the grass root level.


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