USDP Tries to Regain Public Trust Through Constructive Criticism of NLD

By Htet Naing Zaw 11 December 2017

NAYPYITAW — The opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will constructively criticize the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government rather than view it as a rival, said Dr. Nandar Hla Myint, a USDP spokesperson.

“The NLD government today of course has shortcomings. Citizens and political parties should point out, criticize and help as necessary by putting the interests of the country and the people at the fore. This is the policy our party is pursuing,” the spokesperson told reporters in Naypyitaw on Friday.

The USDP, which was formerly a so-called public association known as the Union Solidarity and Development Association, was established by ex-military leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe in 1993 while the country was under military rule.

It transformed itself into a political party in 2010 to contest the general elections held according to the military-drafted 2008 Constitution. The USDP won the majority of seats in Parliament, as the NLD boycotted the election.

However, the NLD contested and won the majority of seats in the 2012 by-election, which finally led to its overwhelming victory over the USDP in the 2015 general elections.

“We won’t oppose the NLD government on every front. We won’t confront it in every field. We won’t try to overthrow it,” said Dr. Nandar Hla Myint.

U Nay Myo Tun, an NLD Lower House lawmaker from Yangon’s Htantabin Township, questioned the USDP’s actual capacity as the opposition party.

“They served as the previous administration and if they make constructive criticism about our government, we should accept it. But the problem is that we have hardly seen such constructive criticism so far,” U Nay Myo Tun told The Irrawaddy.

Vice-chairman of the NLD’s Yangon chapter Dr. Soe Win Oo said that there is no direct communication between Myanmar’s two biggest political parties.

The USDP is no gentleman in its criticism of the NLD, and has repeatedly called the NLD “inexperienced,” lamented Dr. Soe Win Oo.

He accused the USDP of being formed by ex-generals to retain their power even after Myanmar’s hard-won democratic transition.

“The USDP is still led by ex-generals at the top. It is not a party led by civilian intellectuals. And talking of their assets, they were once state-owned and public property, which the party has unlawfully seized. They will never be welcomed by democratic forces,” said the vice-chairman.

Dr. Nandar Hla Myint said the USDP would provide suggestions to the NLD through seminars in the case of tough challenges to the sovereignty of the country, the rights of ethnic people and economic hardship among citizens.

The USDP will try to win the public trust through its actions, he said, adding that no institution in Myanmar was as good as the USDP.