Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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NLD branches join row over party emblem

New Delhi (Mizzima) – At least eight branches of the National League for Democracy have joined the row with splinter group, the National Democratic Force, over its use of a symbol that before the 1990 elections had become synonymous with the party led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

NLD members from Rangoon, Mandalay, Magway, Sagaing, Pegu and Irrawaddy divisions and Kachin and Karen states and MPs elected from these constituencies in 1990 were planning to send an objection letter to the Union Election Commission (UEC) over NDF members’ use of bamboo hats during campaigning, an MP said.

Farmers’ traditional hats became a compelling pro-democracy icon of solidarity with all levels of society after NLD members wore them during campaigning ahead of the 1990 elections, which the party won by a landslide. The junta rejected the results of the election and refused to relinquish power to the people.

However, the NDF, formed from senior NLD members who broke away from the party over its boycott of this year’s elections, has started using the hats, which has led to further aggravation between the former colleagues, with the suggestions that the NDF is trading on NLD popularity.

“Using the bamboo hat is an allusion to the people of a connection to the NLD as people know the NLD as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party and the ‘bamboo hat’ party,” Hlaing Aye, MP-elect from Pakokku No. 1 constituency in Magway Division, told Mizzima. “We cannot accept [the NDF] using our symbol as their party emblem and logo. We shall send our objection to the UEC”.

MPs-elect Myat Hla from Pegu, Aung Soe Myint from the city of Taungoo and Nan Khin Htwe Myint from Pa-an Township will also join the protest, a party source said.

The political group must send its objection letter against the name, flag and emblem of the NDF to the commission before Tuesday. The Political Parties Registration Law states that an objection can be lodged against the fraudulent imitation of other parties’ flags or emblems. NLD party leaders said on Thursday that they would abide the commission’s decision.

NLD responded to unfair electoral laws by not re-registering the party with the commission, which effectively meant they were boycotting the upcoming election.

Similar rows over party emblems have occurred recently and the commission has decided in favour of those who had objected. The 88 Generation Students and Youths (Union of Myanmar) party and the Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics (UMFNP), both believed to have close links to the military junta, tried to use the fighting peacock, which had originally been the symbol of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions. Writers, journalists and artists objected to the symbol’s use and the parties had to modify their logos and emblem after the commission’s decision.


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