Suu Kyi’s party bids farewell

The National League for Democracy, headed by detained Burmese opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi, has been officially dissolved along with four other parties, state media has announced.

The formal disbandment was “expected this since the beginning”, National League for Democracy (NLD) deputy chairman Tin Oo told DVB. The party had refused to register for controversial elections on 7 November, which according to Burmese law meant it could no longer function within official Burmese politics. “Whether this is right or wrong, [the junta] would still do it,” he added.

Also included in the list of dissolved parties was the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), which came in third behind the NLD and the junta-backed National Unity Party (NUP) in the 1990 elections, the last time Burma went to the polls.

Tin Oo said that despite the disbandment, the party will continue to “exist within our group. We will no longer have our flags and the offices but we will continue to be active.” He added that it was not clear whether legal action would be taken by the junta if it continues to “move around in a group”.

Along with the NLD and SNLD, the Union Pa-O National Organisation, Shan State Kokang Democratic Party and Wa National Development Party have also been dissolved. The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said today that, “As those parties no longer have the right to continued existence as political parties, their registrations have been revoked and they have been dissolved”.

Following its decision not to compete in elections, due largely to laws that ban Suu Kyi from participating, senior NLD members said the group would turn its focus towards social work. A number of Central Executive Committee members are currently touring upper Burma to meet with isolated communities there.

“We were not touring around as an organisation but just travelling around with caution,” said Tin Oo. “We are not worried too much as our [activities] are peaceful and we already expected these things to happen.”

Aye Thar Aung, secretary of Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP), an umbrella group of 1990 election-winning parliamentary representatives that includes NLD and SNLD members, said: “Although the NLD and other parties who won the elections in 1990 are now dissolved, they still have their duty for the people. We assume the NLD will continue with its duties.”

He added that the CRPP “will discuss…about the NLD and the SNDP’s continuing of the national duties”.

The Election Commission, which acts as the supreme authority during the election period, said that 37 parties will now compete in the 7 November polls. Parties have from 24 September to 30 October to canvas on television and radio providing they submit a manuscript to the EC seven days in advance.

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