USDP to Reorganize

By Htun Htun 5 August 2016

Burma’s military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will hold its central conference and elect new party leadership in August at its headquarters in Naypyidaw, said Htay Oo, USDP vice chairman, at the plenary meeting of the Rangoon Division USDP on Friday.

“The central conference is exclusively for new party leadership elected at divisional and state levels. Those who were recently suspended from party membership have to stand for [leadership] election at township level,” said Htay Oo.

On April 22, the USDP expelled 17 senior party members including former Lower House speaker Shwe Mann just days after former President Thein Sein resumed party chairmanship. At that point, Shwe Mann had been appointed by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to lead Parliament’s influential Legal Affairs and Special Cases Committee under the new National League for Democracy (NLD) led government.

Those expelled and more than half of the central executive committee (CEC) members requested at the end of May that party chairman Thein Sein summon an emergency party conference to solve internal party problems including the expulsions. The request was rejected.

The Rangoon Division USDP in a report blamed party disunity, a failure to mobilize public support and the media’s overwhelming support for the National League for Democracy (NLD) for the USDP’s humiliating defeat in the 2015 election.

At the meeting on Friday, the Rangoon Division USDP elected a new chairman, secretary and executive committee. Other states and divisions are scheduled to complete their new leadership elections by the second week of August, prior to the August 20 central conference.