500 NLD Members to Quit in Pathein

By Lawi Weng & Thant Zin Nyein Chan 23 October 2012

More than 500 members of Burma’s main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) threatened to resign on Monday in protest at the closure of the party office in Pathein Township, Irrawaddy Division.

The move to close the branch office was taken after senior NLD members held a meeting there on Monday. The building’s door was barred, the party name removed and flag taken down.

“We disagreed about the signboard of the party being pulled down and the office shut,” local NLD member Myint Soe told The Irrawaddy. “Therefore, we are going to protest and resign from the party.” Pathein party members intend to hold a press conference on Oct. 27, he added.

The NLD released an official statement on Sept. 12 saying that the party no longer recognized the Pathein Township branch after some members made verbal attacks against fellow members based at the Irrawaddy Division office, including Lower House MP Win Myint.

In response, local NLD members held a meeting on Monday and members decided to resign, according to Myint Soe.

NLD spokesman Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy on Monday that, “We did it according to our party’s rules and those members who are to resign from the party violated these rules.”

If more members want to resign, Nyan Win said they were free to do so. “Do as is their wish because we cannot revoke our decision,” he added.

The NLD, which won 43 seats in Burma’s Parliament at the April 1 by-elections, has long been at the core of the pro-democracy moment. However, NLD members in Pathein told The Irrawaddy that party leaders did not listen to township members and only those at the divisional headquarters.

Tin Oo, a senior member of the party’s patrons committee, arrived in Pathein Township on Monday and met some local members to explain about the upcoming NLD conference. The 85-year-old opened the Pathein Township office in January and party chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi even said during a visit to the area last month that she would not allow it to close.