Burma’s Election Commission Allows Suu Kyi’s Party To Play In Legal Politics – OpEd


By Zin Linn

Burmese government authorities have given green light towards Aung San Suu Kyi’s party so as to re-register officially today. Although there are some hard-liners in the Thein Sein government, it starts paving the way for the key opposition party to play in the common politics.

Burma’s Union Election Commission allowed formation of National League for Democracy headed by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi as a political party, state-run newspapers reported today. The NLD’s application for registration as political party has been submitted by 21 members including U Tin Oo. It is in harmony with law and rules as the commission is scrutinizing applications for registration and allowing formation of political parties.

The progress is expected allowing the Nobel laureate take a seat in parliament in by-elections next year. The UEC’s permission of NLD’s participation in parliament follows a series of reformist moves by a new government controlled by former generals.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) was deprived of its category as a lawful political party by the previous junta last year after it decided to stay away from the election in 2010, complaining the set of laws was unjust.

Last month, Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann said that he welcomed the NLD’s return to parliament politics. As stated by a journalist, Shwe Mann also said he welcomes her on behalf of the People’s Parliament if she was planning to compete for it.

Although the international community has hailed the NLD’s decision as an essential gesture of rapprochement between the government and the opposition party, some anti-military dissidents are disinclined supporting the NLD’s risking political stance.

NLD’s application to return to the political tussle came days before the arrival of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, scheduled to visit Burma. Clinton travels to Burma from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, during which she had met top officials of the Burmese government and opposition leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy.

The NLD determined not to register as a political party for the 2010 election because it objected to certain laws and obligations involved, including the requirement that a registered political party “preserve and protect” the 2008 Constitution.

The previous junta’s political party registration law has been changed in the Parliament on 27 October mentioning that “a political party shall respect the Constitution.”

Recently Parliaments passed a suggestion to make changes three clauses of the Political Parties Registration Law. The NLD spokesman Nyan Win said the party decided to get re-registered under an amended party registration law that removed clauses the NLD had pointed out as inappropriate and undemocratic.

Subsequently, on 25 November, twenty-one senior members as party founders, including Suu Kyi, Tin Oo and Win Tin made the submission in the capital, Naypyitaw. Aung San Suu Kyi herself has said she will participate in upcoming by-elections, although no fixed date has been set.

On Monday one spokesman of the NLD’s said the party had chosen the image of a fighting peacock gazing at a white star as its new symbol to substitute its trademark bamboo hat, which was used by a breakaway faction that participated in the 2010 election.

The NLD led by Burma’s nobel laureate won landslide in 1990 general election but it was never allowed to run the country’s administrative affairs.

Currently, the momentum of civil war in Kachin State has been increasing hysterically. People throughout the country are against this war since numerous casualties from both sides were citizens of Burma. At the same time, people are exceedingly concerned about the issue of releasing political prisoners as President Thein Sein said that he did not agree with the assessment that Burma has been holding several political prisoners.

The Lady herself has spent most of the past two decades in custody and released just days after the polls.

The NLD’s 18 November decision indicates that it has confidence in government’s recent political reforms by the military-backed government which has been under watch for suspicion due to exile political dissident groups.

On 17 November, the NLD welcomed the approval of Burma’s bid to chair Southeast Asia’s regional bloc in 2014, saying it would boost political change in the inaccessible nation.

Many democracy-supporters in the country and members of the National League for Democracy back up the idea of re-entering the NLD to play in the national politics.

In its 18-November statement, the party said the “NLD has unanimously decided to re-register as a political party… and will run in the elections”.

Asian Correspondent

Asian Correspondent is an English-language liberal news, blogs and commentary online newspaper serving all of the Asia-Pacific region. The website covers asian business, politics, technology, the environment, education, new media and Asia society issues.

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