Myanmar opposition quietly marks anniversary of 1990 election victory

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Myanmar opposition marks anniversary of victory

YANGON, Myanmar — The party of detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi quietly commemorated the anniversary Thursday of its victory in elections 20 years ago and stood by its decision not to register for new polls to be held later this year.

A faction of the party, however, has split off to participate in the balloting.

About 70 party members gathered at the residence of party Vice Chairman Tin Oo to celebrate the party’s 1990 victory.

“We will continue our struggle for democracy and we will continue to carry out our political activities,” Tin Win, a senior National League for Democracy leader, said at the quiet celebration.

The NLD cannot officially hold gatherings at its headquarters since it was disbanded for refusing to register as a political party. It won Myanmar’s last elections in 1990, but the military junta never allowed it to take power.

It declined to re-register for elections planned for this year as stipulated by new election laws. The NLD says the new laws are unfair and undemocratic because Suu Kyi and other people convicted of political offenses are barred from taking part in the vote.

But a faction of Suu Kyi’s party applied Thursday for party registration with the Election Commission, said Than Nyein, a former senior NLD member who is expected to serve as the new party’s chairman.

The faction calls itself the National Democratic Force.

Through her lawyer, Nyan Win, Suu Kyi expressed dissatisfaction with the new group’s decision to register.

The exact date of the elections has not been announced.

Critics say the elections will be engineered so that military officers, many of whom have already shed their uniforms to enter politics, would be assured of victory.

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