By Joseph Allchin
An amendment to the electoral law has passed through parliament, with key amendments that were suggested by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and that would allow the party to take part in an upcoming by-election.
The party is now waiting for a copy of the new law before its central executive committee will vote on whether the party shall re-enter the fray. Key players however remain divided. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is said to be a proponent, whilst veteran founding member, U Win Tin, has expressed ambivalence.
“I don’t think it is really good to go into parliament,” he told DVB.
The key amendments however include the removal of the crucial clause that had said that “all political prisoners must be expelled from the NLD,” explains U Win Tin. Further the clause that parties shall “preserve and defend” the 2008 constitution, which would have been impossible for the party to abide by as they have repeatedly voiced their opposition to key elements of the constitution. This was reportedly changed instead to “respect” the constitution.
“It was said that we have to defend the constitution, which we can’t accept, we couldn’t accept a military constitution, so we refused to abide by that point,” says U Win Tin.
The key elements of concern were voiced by the party in their 2009 Shwegondaing proclamation states U Win Tin, which called for the release of all political prisoners and rewriting the 2008 constitution.
He states that the government’s overtures have not been complete. “All these things are not fulfilled yet, especially this constitution.”
One such area of concern was recognition of the 1990 election. The speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hllutaw, the combined national parliaments, was said to have “recognised” that poll in an interview with a local journal on Wednesday, although the practical implications of this were unclear.
Aung San Suu Kyi meanwhile met Labour Minister Aung Kyi for the fourth time since March on Sunday. Whilst neither party was particularly forthcoming with details of the meeting, the state mouth piece, the New Light of Myanmar, published questions that Suu Kyi answered after the two met.
“NLD’s registration depends on the law. The registration is the issue we can tell only after the law is approved and enacted. When the law is approved, we will hold a meeting. According to the rules and
regulations of our party, we can make decision after the meeting,” Suu Kyi was quoted as saying by the New Light of Myanmar.
She told journalists that the party would wait until the electoral law was enacted and also once they had time to review the law in full, as bills passed in parliament are often not made available to the public.
“We can tell when we see the law. We can’t tell now because we have not yet seen the law,” the Nobel Laureate added.
However there will likely be differences of opinion within her own party. Last year’s boycott induced a wholesale split in the party, with a group of prominent members leaving to form the National Democratic Force (NDF). This again split to form the New National Democratic Party, headed by Pyithu Hluttaw MP Thein Nyunt. Party member and youth wing co-ordinator, Yatha, told DVB that he believed the party would rejoin the NLD should it re-register.