By Peter Aung
The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, who finished second in 1990 general elections, have been approved by Union Election Commission to register as a new party.
The SNLD, led by prominent Shan politician Khun Htun Oo, along with its ally for past 20 years the National League for Democracy lost official recognition in 2010 when the party boycotted the general election and refused to re-register.
The UEC informed the SNLD on 8 May that they would be able to formally register.
“We didn’t have a chance to participate in the  elections as it was held while both our chairman and [me] were in prison so we waited without registering,” said SNDP secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin.
“We are [registering] because legitimacy is important when you work in politics.”
He said the SNLD aims to compete in future elections and will focus on recruiting and organising prior to the general elections in 2015.
In the interim, the SNLD plans to focus on improving health and education standards for the Shan people and assist with the peace process in the state.
Sai Nyunt Lwin said the party also remains committed to passing amendments to sections in the 2008 constitution that are contrary to democratic principles.
“There are a lot of things unacceptable for us in the 2008 constitution including state structures,” said the SNLD secretary.
The SNLD won 23 seats in the 1990 elections. The party’s leaders, Khun Htun Oo and Sai Nyunt Lwin, were charged with treason and given lengthy prison sentences in 2005 for treason, but were freed in January along with hundreds of other political prisoners.