NAYPYITAW — A spokesman for the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) on Sunday denied reports that State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would be retiring any time soon.
“There are reports that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would retire. I didn’t say that. I said she would be able to retire soon if party members worked hard. It is what she always says. But it doesn’t mean she will retire soon,” U Myo Nyunt told The Irrawaddy.
He made the remarks following media reports that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who also chairs the NLD, told members of her party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) on Saturday that she would like to stand down if possible.
The meeting in Naypyitaw was just a social gathering and political issues were not discussed, U Myo Nyunt said.
“It was just a casual conversation. It has been a long time since she last met with CEC members. And as [vice president-elect] U Win Myint is about to take the top job, we had a social gathering with old and new executives,” he said.
The military-drafted 2008 Constitution bars government officials from being involved in party politics, so the social gathering was therefore legal, the spokesman added.
“She must remain the leader of the country, considering her influence and caliber. It is not because we don’t sympathize with her [considering her age and workload]. But she should hold an important role in the country as long as she is alive, and I believe she will,” said NLD lawmaker U Nay Myo Tun, who represents Yangon Region’s Htantabin Township.
“She said she was old and would like to retire as a way of giving her party members friendly encouragement to work harder,” he added.
The 73-year-old was too exhausted to speak during a trip to Australia last week and spent most of her time there in bed, said NLD CEC member U Win Htein, who visited her in Australia.
“Far from chatting with her, she was sick in bed because of jet lag. She had to cancel her speech, and the meeting with the Australian chief minister,” U Win Htein told The Irrawaddy.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.