NLD, 88 Generation Announce Election Partnership Despite Candidate Row

By The Irrawaddy 25 August 2015

RANGOON—Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and the country’s popular 88 Generation activist group have announced they will collaborate to monitor the Nov. 8 election, in order to ensure accurate voter lists and prevent electoral fraud.

The joint statement, released on Monday, follows the NLD’s rejection of most candidate submitted by the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society to contest the election under the opposition party’s banner. The groups said that their cooperation would also extend to future constitutional amendment campaigns and the building of a democratic federal union in partnership with the country’s ethnic minorities.

The statementalso urged eligible voters to ensure their names were included on voter lists prepared by the Union Election Commission.

The two groups collaborated last year on a petition drive urging the Union Parliament to reform several provisions in Burma’s 2008 Constitution, including articles that barred NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency and guaranteed a 25 percent allocation of parliamentary seats to the military. The petition campaign eventually attracted over five million signatures, around 10 percent of the country’s population.

Earlier this year, 17 members of the 88 Generation group submitted applications for candidacy with the NLD. Only one of the nominees was chosen, while the opposition became the target of heated criticism for excluding a number of other prominent candidates and ignoring the wishes of numerous township NLD offices.

“We are choosing the most suitable MPs for the country. Everyone has the right to apply as candidates but the [central executive] committee needs to choose the best people,” party spokesman Nyan Win told Reuters at the time.

Ko Ko Gyi, one of the 88 Generation’s leaders and one of the most prominent exclusions from the NLD’s candidate list, told The Irrawaddy on Aug. 7 that he would set up his own political party to compete in future elections.