NLD Schedules First Youth Congress in Early July

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 25 June 2014

RANGOON — After several delays, the National League for Democracy (NLD) said it has finally set a firm date for its first nationwide youth congress, which will be held on July 5-6.

Burma’s biggest opposition party twice announced it would hold the conference, once in January and then in April, but then postponed the event, most recently because the NLD started its nationwide campaign calling for amendments to the Constitution’s Article 436.

“We had various reasons to reshuffle the date; the campaign for amending Article 436 was a priority for example. So now, the two-day Congress has been set with a firm date and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will attend during those two days,” said Maung Maung Oo, the central commission chairman for the Youth Congress.

He added the event will be held at the Royal Rose Restaurant in Rangoon.

Maung Maung Oo said a total of some 200 youth leaders, who were selected based on their level of experience, are expected to attend the congress.

Representatives, aged between 16 to 35 years, were chosen from the NLD’s township, district, division and state commissions. They will represent the NLD youth members who number about 100,000 across the country.

“We want to promote the youth’s role in the party, and we will select 15 major youth leaders at this congress,” to form the central working committee of the NLD youth wing, Maung Maung Oo said. He added that another 57 representatives will be selected to join the NLD youth wing’s central leading committee.

Maung Maung Oo said the congress would focus on regional development and the role of youth in Burma’s development.

He said there would be about 30 young women representing NLD township and district committees, and four women representing NLD committees from Kachin, Arakan and Mon states and Bago Division.

NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi has long aspired to hold a youth congress. The idea received more backing last year after the NLD held a national assembly of about 900 members in March—also a first for the party, which was outlawed before President Thein Sein’s nominally civilian government came to power in 2011.

Although the party is hugely popular, questions have been raised over its organizational capacity, ageing leadership and an overdependence on Suu Kyi’s leadership, which has left little room for the development of other NLD leaders.

The NLD wants to revitalize ahead of the elections and develop a younger generation of leaders, as many of its current central leaders are in their 70s and 80s.