NDF approved as constituencies drawn

The opposition National Democratic Force (NDF) party has been finally approved to run for polls this year after months of scrutiny by Burma’s Election Commission (EC).

The state-run Myanmar Radio station announced the approval on Friday last week. The following day, the New Light of Myanmar said that the EC meeting also finalised constituency boundaries, but gave no further details.

“The chairman and the commission members scrutinized applications submitted by parties for registration, defined constituencies, made lists of eligible voters, designated places for polling stations, and held discussions on electoral matters,” it said.

The NDF includes former senior members of the now-defunct National League for Democracy (NLD), headed by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Relations between the two groups have soured, however, and spiralled last week after Suu Kyi’s party accused the NDF of stealing the insignia of a bamboo hat that the 1990 election winners had branded as their own. That insignia, and the NDF’s flag, were last week approved by the EC, despite protests by the old party.

Thein Nyunt, the deputy chair of the NDF, said the party is now due to submit a member list.

“First, we will have to submit a list within 90 days of 1000 party members. We still can’t say what we will do after that as the elections date and other details have not been announced yet. But we will try to compete in places that we are able to.”

He added that the party would compete for seats in both the People’s Parliament and the National Parliament in Rangoon division’s Thingangyun township.

A number of NDF members, including Thein Nyunt, were elected pas arliament representatives for the NLD in the 1990 elections, in which Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory.

The NDF was formed after the old guard of Burmese opposition decided on 6 May not to compete in the elections, following the announcement of election laws that would have forced the expulsion of Suu Kyi if the party wanted to run.

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