Group of 1990 Election Winners to Form Party with Eye on 2020 Vote

By Zue Zue 8 August 2018

YANGON—A group of former successful electoral candidates who were denied parliamentary seats after the 1990 general election will join with their political partners to set up a new party in order to contest the 2020 general elections.

The then-ruling military regime refused to recognize the results of the 1990 election.

The announcement was made at Yangon University’s Judson Hall on Wednesday during an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the pro-democracy uprising in 1988.

The decision was reached at a preliminary meeting on July 15. Though its name has not been finalized, immediate steps will be taken to register the party with the Union Election Commission, said United National Democracy Organization (UNDO) general secretary U Aung Thura.

UNDO was formed by former members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which leads the current government. It has been engaged in protecting and promoting human rights and the rights of various specific groups, including farmers.

“We have had difficulties in undertaking those activities. Our legitimacy has been questioned time and again. People have urged us to stand by them in an official capacity. So, we decided to set up a political party together with our partners and run for Parliament,” U Aung Thura said.

The main objective of the party is to rewrite the undemocratic 2008 Constitution, he said, adding that he and his colleagues are not satisfied with the performance of the NLD, which contested the 2015 elections on a promise to change the Constitution.

“I believe we will be able to reform the Constitution if we have the same number of seats as the NLD in Parliament. Our strategies are different. Their policy is to change [parts of] the Constitution. But our policy is that the 2008 Constitution is illegitimate,” U Aung Thura said.

The group of elected representatives denied seats in the 1990 elections filed a lawsuit against the government at the Dekkhinathiri District Court in Naypyitaw calling for the 2008 Constitution to be scrapped.

The court dismissed the case, saying the group had no authority to sue the government.

The party will be led by the 1990 election winners, but only younger, able members will be fielded as candidates in 2020, U Aung Thura said.

Khun Tun Oo, a Shan ethnic leader who serves as chairman of the group of election winners, believes the party will be become a third force in Myanmar’s politics.

The group was formed in 2014 and joined later by the UNDO and other political partners.