Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The NLD stumbles out of the starting block

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 13:26 Myat Thu Pan

(Commentary) – Suu Kyi’s compromise on the Parliament oath of office issue is a welcome relief to the political stalemate. Evidently, judging from events, the NLD will now have to go through a steep learning curve in order to avoid other political missteps.

Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to reporters after the parliamentary session of the Lower House ended on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. Photo: Mizzima / Lynn Bo Bo

As a democratic icon, Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy have acquired enormous political capital by virtue of their steadfast democratic revolutionary stance. However, it should not have used the oath of office issue the way it did even before it had been seated in the Parliament.

The issue of the oath stalemate raises a very critical question of whether the NLD has qualified political strategists among its decision-makers. It certainly reflects a critical weakness within the political organization.

Politics in essence is not about just being right; it is also about being right in regard to the timing, the place and the circumstances. These type of decisions require not only experienced strategists, but also, most importantly, political acumen and instinct. This is especially so in light of the NLD’s weak position in Parliament where compromise and goodwill is essential if it is to have any chance of accomplishing its goals.

The NLD needs to transform itself very quickly from being a revolutionary organization to being astute lawmakers. To facilitate this, it should create a think tank in formulating its political policies and strategy, using Burmese academics, astute political operators and some new blood, such as 88-Generation leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi.

The question of changing the Constitution should be the NLD’s end game. It should not have been it's opening gambit. It’s essential that the NLD doesn’t squander the political capital bestowed on it by the Burmese people.

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