Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Democracy in Burma: NLD to hold Congress

Text: Aye Aye Win, Associated Press via; Wisdom Quarterly
Shwedagon Pagoda enshrines the Buddha's hair relics, Rangoon, Burma (
In another sign of political reform and reconciliation in Burma [which the dictatorship renamed Myanmar], the country's biggest party led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will hold its first-ever congress in the country's former capital [of Rangoon now Yangon] this week.
"This will be the NLD's first party congress since the party was formed more than 24 years ago," National League for Democracy (NLD) senior leader and parliamentarian Ohn Kyaing said Sunday.
About 900 party members from 260 townships will attend the three-day conference starting Friday in Yangon to choose the party's new leadership and to lay down future policies and programs, said Ohn Kyaing, one of the organizers of the party assembly.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Soe Than Win/AFP)
"Party leader Daw [Lady] Aung San Suu Kyi had said earlier that party central executive committee members had to be democratically elected but was unable to do so in the past because of an unfavorable political environment," Ohn Kyaing told The Associated Press.
Suu Kyi, 67, co-founded the National League for Democracy party amid massive pro-democracy protests in 1988 and officially registered it on Sept. 27, 1988, after the demonstrations were violently suppressed by the then-ruling military junta [of dictator generals, now holed up in their new secretive capital of Naypyidaw].
Billionaire dictator Than Shwe
The party won national elections in 1990 by a landslide, but the results were not recognized by the military government [led by General Than Shwe, the "Asian Hitler"]. Suu Kyi has been jailed or under house arrest for more than 15 of the past 21 years and hundreds of party members imprisoned, and the NLD was unable to hold a general assembly because of government repression. More

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