By Zin Linn
The National League for Democracy party (NLD), led by Burma’s Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has decided to re-register officially so as to take part in upcoming elections. Out of 116 central committee members of the party, 106 representatives join in Friday meeting to make a historic decision. The NLD declined to register as a party ahead of 2010 polls because of a restriction that prevented Aung San Suu Kyi and several politicians under detention from running in the polls.
Mainstream of the representatives supported in favor of re-registering as a legal party, after the government amended some clauses of the party registration law. The government also showed some soft stances including release of some political prisoners and reducing some media limitations in recent months, some sources said.
The NLD’s Friday decision indicates that it has confidence in government’s recent political reforms by the military-backed government which took office after the controversial elections in November 2010.
On Thursday, the National League for Democracy party 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 Friday statement, the party said the “NLD has unanimously decided to re-register as a political party… and will run in the elections”.
According some analysts, Suu Kyi’s decision seems to be originated in a negotiation with President Thein Sein in August, in Nay Pyi Taw. To amend party registration law and to free political prisoners seem to be part of the said compromise consequently.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama declared in Bali today that he will send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Burma next month—for the first visit to the country by a US secretary of state since military rule was first imposed nearly 50 years ago.
In his official statement, Obama said, “Last night, I spoke to Aung San Suu Kyi, directly, and confirmed that she supports American engagement to move this process forward. So today, I’ve asked Secretary Hillary Clinton to go to Burma. She will be the first American Secretary of State to travel to the country in over half a century, and she will explore whether the United States can empower a positive transition in Burma and begin a new chapter between our countries.”
“That possibility will depend upon the Burmese government taking more concrete action. If Burma fails to move down the path of reform, it will continue to face sanctions and isolation. But if it seizes this moment, then reconciliation can prevail, and millions of people may get the chance to live with a greater measure of freedom, prosperity, and dignity. And that possibility is too important to ignore.”
So, some observers believe that NLD’s today decision seems to be interconnected with international encouragement by the US and other Western democracies. The international community including the UN has been pushing Burma (Myanmar) to free the remaining political prisoners as well as to give a political space for the NLD.
Furthermore, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations are also asked the regime to stop warring against ethnic rebel groups and open a meaningful political dialogue with the ethnic groups who launched armed struggles for their self-determination for more than fifty years.
If those ethnic rebellions were not resolved within a few months, the task to create reconciliation between government and the ethnic groups would likely be taken care by the NLD following the expected bi-elections in the near future.
Hence, after a tough decision of reregistering, the NLD headed by Suu Kyi has to face many more struggles including the constitutional issues on the road to democratization of the nation.