On This Day

The Day Suu Kyi was Expelled from the NLD

By Wei Yan Aung 11 December 2020

Yangon — On this day in 1991, under pressure from the military regime, the National League for Democracy (NLD) announced the dismissal of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as its general secretary and canceled her party membership. The announcement was signed by the NLD’s acting chairman, U Aung Shwe.

According to the NLD records, U Aung Shwe, who was chairing the party after leaders U Tin Oo, U Kyi Maung and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were arrested by the military regime, was repeatedly coerced by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the election commission to sack Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from the party or have the party abolished.

On the day before her dismissal, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, while under house arrest, was awarded the Noble peace prize. The same day, students took to the streets, demanding Daw Aung San Suu Kyi be released, the regime honor the NLD’s victory in the 1990 general election and grant student rights. The regime arrested students and handed them lengthy prison sentences.

On Dec. 11, 1991, the election commission gave the NLD’s leaders an ultimatum, to dismiss Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or have the party abolished.

The regime pressured the central executive committee (CEC), led by U Aung Shwe and secretary U Lwin, who did not want to be responsible for destroying the party.

A majority of party members were angry with the CEC’s decision to dismiss Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, calling the committee members stooges of the regime who had joined the party to destroy it.

When Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was first released from her house arrest in 1995, U Aung Shwe handed over the party to U Tin Oo and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

At their first meeting, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told U Aung Shwe: “It’s OK, Uncle. Let’s work together as we did before.”

She is now the chairwoman of the NLD, which won the general election in November for a second term.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.