New opposition registers for elections

A political party formed from the ashes of the famed National League for Democracy (NLD) has submitted its application to run in elections in Burma this year.

The formation of the National Democratic Force (NDF) has angered members of the now-disbanded NLD, headed by imprisoned Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who claim that the group has betrayed the principles behind the party’s boycott of the elections.

NDF spokesperson Sein Hla Oo told DVB that the party leader Thein Nyunt, accompanied by two party representatives, had travelled to the capital Naypyidaw to submit their registration with the Election Commission.

“[The application] is the first step and the next is to collect personal data of each of our members, but this is the Burmese intelligence department’s job,” he said. “They will check on each [member] and will say whether they accept [the registration] or not. We hope to learn [this week] whether or not we will be approved.”

Nyan Win, lawyer for Suu Kyi, said last week that the 64-year-old had expressed her disappointment at the new party, which includes former members of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee, including prominent spokesperson Khin Maung Swe.

But Sein Hla Oo said that the new party was formed for “the citizens who carry hopes and expectations” and for voters who had questioned who to back in the elections.

It is “also for our forces from the [NLD] who want to continue with the cause, and the progressive political comrades outside [the NLD]. We organised a wide range of people to make this group a strong opponent in the elections”, he said.

When asked about the feud between the group and the NLD, he said the new party has a policy not to criticise one other.

The sentiment was echoed by the NLD’s deputy chair, Tin Oo, who said that although he was disappointed that the NDF members didn’t follow the decision made by the majority of the NLD, he wouldn’t criticise the party because they share the same goal, despite taking different paths.

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