Sunday, 17 November 2019

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Optimism over reopening of NLD-Rangoon branch

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Members of the Rangoon division National League for Democracy, Burma’s main opposition party, are optimistic about their office reopening after the 1990 Election Commission on Monday called them for a meeting over it, following a request.  

Dr. Than Nyein, Chairman of the Rangoon Division NLD, on Tuesday told Mizzima that he along with several of his colleagues were called to the divisional commission office, near the Sule Pagoda in downtown Rangoon, and asked to submit the list of currently active committee members.

“They [the Commission] told us to submit a fresh list of committee members of the NLD-Rangoon division and said that further discussions would be held after the submission,” Dr. Tha Nyein said.

He said, the Rangoon Division NLD in early October submitted an appeal, requesting the Commission to allow them to reopen their office, which was closed in 2003.

“What is significant here is that the Commission said they would like to have the list of the current divisional committee members of the NLD and did not ask for the names of old members,” he added.

Formed in 1988, several members including branch office committee members of the NLD have gone missing. While some have died, several others are in exile and scores of them are still incarcerated.

Dr. Than Nyein, who was imprisoned for 11 years and released on September 2008 said, in earlier years the Commission would question them about NLD branch offices not having the required number of committee members to be allowed to open their offices.

“But this time they did not ask us that, instead they told us to immediately send the list of those that are currently active,” he added.

He said, the NLD - Rangoon division, submitted a request to the Commission in early October as the office in Rangoon’s Tamwe Township needs to be  repaired and as a legal political party, it needs the office to carry out its activities.

Burma’s military junta, which had promised to return to the barracks after conducting a general election in 1990, refused to hand over power to the NLD, which recorded  a landslide victory.

Instead the junta disbanded all political parties and closed their offices, except the NLD’s headquarters in Rangoon’s West Shwegondine Street.

“Whatever the reasons, I believe that if we are allowed to reopen our office, it would be beneficial for both the government and for us,” he added.

In recent months, the Burmese junta has granted rare permission to detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet western diplomats on her request and also allowed her party to meet several visiting foreign diplomats including those from the US, UK and Australia.

On Tuesday, US Assistant Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell and US Undersecretary Scott Marciel began a two-day visit to Burma. The two diplomats are expected to meet several junta officials including Minister for Information, Kyaw San in Naypyitaw.

On Wednesday, before concluding their trip, the two diplomats will also be meeting Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 14 of the past 20 years under some form of detention.

Reporting by Khaing Suu, Myint Maung; editing Mungpi


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