Members of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, Burma’s most respected democracy group, confirmed on Sunday they are making headway in the development of a new political party.
Leaders of the activist organization, which takes its name from the 1988 student protest movement, announced in March their intention to form a party that is expected to focus on constitutional reform. Steering committee members gathered over the weekend to identify policy priorities and discuss an official party name.
Despite a long-standing relationship with the National League for Democracy, many 88 Generation activists were rejected from running on the party’s ticket in the 2015 election.
Ko Ko Gyi, a senior member of the group, said his group is planning for the country’s future starting with a review of the 2008 constitution.
“We [are] trying to found a political party for building a solid foundation in terms of politics beyond Aung San Suu Kyi. For more than 30 years, the 88 Generation faction has supported Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD in the pursuit of democracy,” he said, adding that they aim to register their party within six to nine months.
The relationship between the NLD and 88 Generation appears to have cooled since prominent pro-democracy activists, including Ko Ko Gyi, were unceremoniously snubbed from the NLD candidate list.
Now, it appears the rejected democracy advocates hope to give the Burmese electorate an alternative to the two major parties – the NLD and former ruling party the Union Development and Solidarity Party.
Speaking to Frontier Myanmar in March, veteran activist and 88 Generation Mya Aye gave an early indicator that the new party had set its sights on upsetting the status quo in Naypyidaw.
“We have never agreed with the 2008 constitution and amending or re-writing it will be the new party’s first priority,” he said.