Myanmar Regime Looking to Misuse NLD’s Name for Political Purposes, Party Warns

By The Irrawaddy 2 May 2022

In an effort to thwart the misuse of its name by the military regime for political ends, Myanmar’s ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) has issued a statement confirming that it has not assigned any representatives to meet with the junta or affiliated organizations.

“As long as the party’s chairperson and its executive members, who have been unjustly arrested by the junta, can’t hold a meeting, the NLD will not appoint anyone nor any association as the party’s representative to meet, discuss or negotiate with the regime and its affiliated groups,” the party said in a statement released on Sunday.

The party also warned that the regime could be planning to misuse the NLD’s name to contact international organizations and embassies, as it intends to hold an election—probably next year—to provide it with a political exit.

“In case of such contacts, the NLD has nothing to do with them,” the statement said.

The announcement can be viewed as a preventive measure by the party to preempt any attempt by the regime to deceive international envoys, who have been requesting that the junta allow them to meet with all political stakeholders in Myanmar, including NLD chairwoman Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The junta has denied all requests to meet her, claiming that the country’s laws prohibit meetings with anyone on trial. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a series of charges filed by the regime.

Despite this prohibition, when the special envoy from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) visited Myanmar in March, the junta arranged for him to meet Daw Su Su Lwin, an elected lawmaker from the NLD and a former First Lady of the country under the NLD government, in an attempt to show the world that it was complying with requests that the envoy be allowed to meet all stakeholders. However, the lawmaker declined the meeting, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD took office in 2016 after its landslide victory in the 2015 general election. It also won the next election in 2020 but the military staged a coup last year alleging massive electoral fraud—a claim rejected by local and international observers.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and many other NLD officials were arrested after the takeover. The junta has annulled the 2020 election results.

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