Reforms underway in NDF core

Fifteen members have been elected to the Central Committee of the National Democratic Party, one of the largest opposition parties to have competed in Burma recent elections.

It comes as party of a wider reform of the party that came fifth in the 7 November polls, despite winning only 16 of more than 1000 seats. Its chairman, Dr Than Nyein, said that the NDF is also planning to form committees to represent women, youth, farmers and workers.

Key players such as Khin Maung Soe and Dr Than Nyein will retain their positions, while former secretary Soe Win has been promoted to deputy chairman.

The party, which split from the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) in order to contest the elections, fielded 61 candidates. It is from these that the 15 Central Committee members were elected.

Controversy continues to dog the aftermath of Burma’s first elections in 20 years. Bauk Ja, a candidate for the NDF in the town of Hpakant in Kachin state, is filing a complaint against Ohn Myint, a member of the victorious Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), whom she alleges lured ineligible voters into casting advance votes in favour of her.

And a candidate for the USDP is set to complain about NDF representative Myat Nyarna Soe, who won a seat in the National Parliament. Myat Thu, who lost the seat, claims that his NDF rival committed slander against the government during the pre-election campaigning phase.

“I was also accused [by Myat Thu] of cooperating with ballot station officials who favoured us to make the USDP votes invalid,” said Myat Nyarna Soe, who will appear in court on 26 January.

“The NDF is not the government so it is impossible for us to manipulate ballot station officers who were handpicked by the Election Commission.”

The Election Commission was in turn handpicked by the ruling junta, one of many factors that led observers to accuse Burma’s leaders of choreographing the polls to ensure that only a cosmetic change in government occurs.

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