Suu Kyi Elected NLD Chairperson at Historic Congress

Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to delegates of the National League for Democracy at the party’s first-ever congress. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was elected on Sunday as the chairperson of the newly formed executive board of Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), at the party’s first-ever national congress.

Nyan Win, a member of the party’s central executive committee (CEC), told reporters during a press conference at the end of the three-day congress that all executive members agreed to keep Suu Kyi as NLD leader.

“We all heartily voted for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said.

The members of the executive board were chosen out of 120 central committee members among nearly 900 attendees who flocked to the congress to vote for their party’s new leadership. It was the first time in the party’s 25 years of existence that it had held a national congress.

Even though the new lineup of the executive board still includes all seven former CEC members, the overall number of board members was expanded to 15, with an additional five “reserve” members, making more room for female members and delegates from ethnic regions. Tin Oo remains as the patron of the party’s Chairman Committee.

During her first speech as newly elected chairperson of the party’s CEC on Sunday, Suu Kyi said the NLD has been restructured democratically for the first time in its 25 years of history.

“I hope we can perform better than before,” the 67-year old said.

After being repressed during more than two decades, the NLD needs to strengthen its political organization ahead of the 2015 national elections, as many of its senior leaders are in their 70s and 80s, while questions remain about the effectiveness of its lower and mid-level organization.

Suu Kyi explained that the CEC members were elected based on their past, present and future relations to the party’s activities; their long-time membership; and their ability to work effectively for the NLD, the people and the country.

“We’ve tried to include ethnic people, women and members of the younger generation among them,” she added.

Suu Kyi co-founded the NLD in 1988, when Burma’s pro-democracy movement was born out of nationwide protests against the former military-backed socialist regime, to fight for democracy and human rights in the Southeast Asian country. She admitted that until now, “the party had no chance to hold a national congress to choose its leadership democratically due to harsh restrictions imposed by then military dictatorship.”

Aye Naing, the NLD representative from Rangoon’s South Dagon townships, told The Irrawaddy after Suu Kyi’s speech that all the decisions made at the congress were based on general consensus.

“All elected members here are democratically selected step by step from the party’s grassroots levels,” he said.

“That’s why I have to say I’m glad to see that now we have been able to choose our leaders through democratic practices, in the way the NLD has always valued.”


4 Responses to Suu Kyi Elected NLD Chairperson at Historic Congress

  1. Congratulation to all newly elected member!! The slogan of N.L.D ” To build a brighter, better future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

  2. George Than Setkyar Heine

    CONGRATULATIONS of course.
    Daw Suu is the BACKBONE and HEAD of the NLD since day one until today no doubt.
    However, she NEEDS to ADD MUSCLE on the BACKBONE and BRAINS as well in her HEAD of course.
    Most importantly and essentially as well is the fact SOLIDARITY/UNITY certainly is the KEY and ARMOR/SHIELD to GUARD/PREEMPT AGAINST “INFILTRATION” and “SABOTAGE” among the RANK and FILE of the NLD.
    As a result, OPENNESS/TRANSPARENCY is NON-NEGOTIABLE for that MATTER no less trust me.
    Of course LINES of COMMUNICATION and AVENUES for LIAISON should be OPEN 24/7 and MINIMUM RED TAPE as well are CRUCIAL and VITAL for the CHAIR, CEC members and GRASS ROOTS, the PLATFORM/PILLARS of the NLD, to get CONNECTED and GET the JOB DONE and for the BETTER as well trust me.
    ABSENCE or NON-SUPPORT of BASE/GRASS ROOTS in the NLD is AKIN to BUILDING CASTLES in the AIR or a case of a LEGLESS MAN OBSESSED with his DREAM of becoming the FASTEST MAN on this earth of course.
    BEWARE of the DIVIDE and CONQUER/RULE (age old archaic) PLOY of the British colonialists of yore, still in HANDY, VOGUE and PRACTICE as well among Than Shwe/Thein Sein led MOB at Naypyidaw until today lest Daw Suu and her people forget.
    And MONEY, OPPORTUNITY and POWER are the TOOLS of the TRADE for that MATTER (divide and conquer/rule strategy) as well I say.
    Hence, it is BEST Daw Suu KEEPS her HANDS BEHIND HER BACK in case SHE SEES Than Shwe’s CRONIES LOADED with ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH APPROACH HER at any GIVEN TIME and SPACE and specifically Than Shwe’s CLERK, OFFERING Daw Suu or her PEOPLE to SHARE any OPPORTUNITY/POWER accruing out of ROBBING, CHEATING and RIGGING the last November 7, 2010 elections of course.
    Until and unless Daw Suu led NLD stays CLEAN and CLEAR of Than Shwe’s CRONIES and PUPPETS at Naypyidaw RESTORING DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM and HUMAN RIGHTS in Burma would be NO BETTER THAN the DREAM of that LEGLESS MAN as aforementioned, any bets?

  3. Leadership is action, not position.

  4. Instead of having so many small parties, the ethnic groups must join the NLD. Multi-party system seems democratic but it can hurt opposition group to tackle USDP. Do we need too many parties to build our Union? I encourage the ethnics to join the NLD now.

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