Monday, March 11, 2013

Little change in NLD as old guard stands firm


Monday, 11 March 2013 16:31 Ko Ko Gyi

Amidst growing rumors of party squabbles, the National League for Democracy (NLD) re-organized the central executive committee (CEC) with old and new members appointed at a ratio of 3:1 at this weekend’s inaugural NLD party congress.

A member of National League for Democracy counts votes during the party's first ever party congress which took place on March 8-10 in Yangon. (Photo: AFP)

Four new members joined the CEC—Aung Soe, Dr. Myo Aung, Phyu Phyu Thinn and Zo Bwae—with the remainder of the committee being made up of former members.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win explained party president Aung San Suu Kyi’s selection: “If only new members were selected for the CEC, there could be a generation gap between old and new members with regards to political experience,” he said.

The members who were selected for the CEC are supposed to be the most loyal and committed to working in the party, and many have done so for a long time, he added.

Suu Kyi, who was re-elected as president of the party at the congress on Sunday, said during a brief press conference that the selection of new members was based on three main principles.

One is the previous relationship with the party. “It’s impossible to leave the old, experienced members behind,” she said.

The second criterion is that members must have adequate capacity, she said. The third is that more new members and ethnic members should be selected and appointed.

She added, “There are now four women, doubling the number of female committee members.”

Suu Kyi also said that there will be specific changes in party policies in keeping with the domestic political landscape.

“The party must work under the new and changeable political landscape. In the past, our approach was that of an opposition party. But now the party has to have a constructive approach,” she said.

Nyan Win praised the first national party congress, saying, “All party members got a practical understanding and experience of democratic principles in terms of selecting members. There were particular arguments and disagreements about the selection process among party members, but ultimately our party learned valuable lessons and experiences.”

The first meeting of the new CEC will be held after April 8. The specific responsibilities of CEC members and the coming 2015 election will be discussed then, he said.
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