Opposition party celebrates 21 years

Sept 28, 2009 (DVB), Burma's opposition National League for Democracy party yesterday celebrated the 21-year anniversary of the group's formation in the country's former capital, Rangoon.

At the event, attended by party leaders, foreign diplomats and ethnic representatives, the Rangoon wing's organizing secretary, Dr Win Naing, read a statement expressing the group's desire to use dialogue to achieve change in Burma.

Any dialogue should focus on improving the lives of Burmese, said National League for Democracy (NLD) information wing member, Ohn Kyaing.

It should also include "discussion on national reconciliation, bringing equal rights for all ethnic people, and a revision on the 2008 constitution," he said.

Furthermore, the ruling junta should "[recognise] the people's parliament which is the result of the 1990 elections and issues with the next elections."

"Then we all can work together in unity for future politics, decided by the parliament, to shape a new democratic nation," he said.

The statement also pointed the government should release NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi, vice chairperson Tin Oo, 88 Generation Student leaders, and ethnic political leaders and monks who are serving long sentences.

Ohn Kyaing also stressed that NLD branch offices throughout the country should be allowed to stay open, following various closures by the government that "are not in accordance with the law".

"Some of our group members released from prison showed up at the anniversary," he added. "I feel this is the NLD showing strongly that we are a force [that will] shape democracy in Burma."

The NLD are yet to announce whether they will compete in the elections, scheduled for March next year, citing the redrafted 2008 constitution which appears to guarantee continuation of military rule in Burma.

Suu Kyi was in August sentenced to 18 months under house arrest. Critics of the Burmese government believe this to have been a ploy to keep her in detention during the elections.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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