Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NLD to meet November 18 to discuss re-registering as political party

Tuesday, 08 November 2011 15:21 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A total of 106 members of the central committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD) from 13 states and regions will meet on November 18 in Rangoon to decide whether it will re-register as a political party or not.

Han Thar Myint, an NLD central executive committee member, said members of the central executive committee met on Tuesday at Aung San Suu Kyi’s home on University Avenue Road in Rangoon for two hours and agreed to hold a party-wide meeting.

Suu Kyi and Union Minister Aung Kyi at a press conference on October 30, 2011. In reconciliation talks, prisoner amnesty, ethnic fighting and economic issues were center stage. Aung Kyi has urged the NLD to re-register as a political party. Photo: Mizzima

Differences of opinion on whether the party should register have already begun to appear.
Last week, 32 NLD members sent a letter to the NLD saying that they could not accept the 2008 Constitution.

Khin Win Kyi, a member of the NLD women’s wing of Shwepyitha Township, said that the 32 members are from Shwepyitha, Dagon, Dala and Kayan townships.

“We announced that we could not accept the 2008 Constitution, and if we contest in the election, it will mean that we can accept the Constitution,” she said.  The 32 dissenting members included two winners of the 1990 election, Than Win and David Hla Myint.

On Saturday, President Thein Sein signed a law that amended three key areas of the Political Party Registration Law. Observers said the amendments seemed to be designed to pave the way for the NLD to re-register as a political party.

There was a change in the law’s wording that said all political parties must "protect" the country's Constitution. It was amended to "respect" the Constitution. Another change allows serving prisoners to be a member of a political party. NLD Vice Chairman Tin Oo and CEC member Win Tin told the media that the amendment was constructive.

NLD member Han Thar Myint said that the central committee members would discuss the impact the NLD might have if it decides to re-register, but he declined to discuss his personal views.

“I cannot say in advance,” he said. ‘If I do, it may prevent someone from expressing their views. Or it may incite them (to say something),” Han Thar Myint said.

The Committee Representing People's Parliament (CRPP) Secretary Aye Tha Aung said he supported re-registering in order to work within the existing government. The NLD is a member of the CRPP.

“I think it should register,” he said. “Through meetings with government officials including (president) Thein Sein we can gain understanding and trust. So we should register. I believe that it would be better to cooperate with each other in the future.”

Aye Tha Aung, who is also secretary of the Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), said that the ALD party would hold a meeting after November 15 to decide whether the party will register or not. He said party officials would consider the new political landscape including the Political Party Registration Law.

A 1990 election winner, Dr. Min Soe Lin of the Mon National Democratic Front, which is also a CRPP member, said that the phrase “to protect the country's Constitution” and the phrase “to respect the Constitution” is very similar. The Kaowao Mon News Group reported on Monday that he said his party could not accept Article 6 of the Basic Principles of the Union’s objectives, which call on the Defence Services to have a national political leadership role in the State.

Aye Tha Aung said that Aung San Suu Kyi should continue meeting with Union Minister Aung Kyi and President Thein Sein to build mutual trust to seek national reconciliation, but he said that the government has a responsibility to release political prisoners and seek a nationwide cease-fire.

The CRPP was formed after the former junta failed to implement the results of 1990 election. It comprises Arakan, Shan, Mon and Zomi political parities. The CRPP plans to hold a meeting on November 15 to discuss whether the NLD should register or not.

On March 29, 2010, 100 central committee members from states and regions met with NLD CEC members at NLD headquarters in Rangoon and all agreed the NLD would not re-register and contest in the 2010 election. At that time, both Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo were under house arrest.

Recently, Labour Minister Aung Kyi said the government would welcome and work with a legal NLD.

Speaking to The Myanmar Times before the recent amnesty, Ko Ko Hlaing, a presidential adviser for political affairs, said the release of a substantial number of NLD members from prison could prove decisive.

In an interview with Mizzima, senior NLD leader Win Tin said last week: "We haven't been satisfied yet with the political prisoners release. We have to wait and see, how the constitutional reform might happened, whether there is any attempt at constitutional reform, or if the NLD could promise to work for constitutional reform if the party leadership were elected to Parliament. I think we have to consider the possible outcomes.

"The party has an obligation to stand for its principles. But it depends on how the party leadership understands the situation and how it analyzes the possibilities. For me, it is hard to give a personal view. I think the issue must be considered by the whole party leadership structure," he said.

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