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Published on Sunday, 10 March 2013 20:04
NLD Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi greeting those attending its first congress. (Photo-EMG)
The First Congress of the 25-year-old National League for Democracy Federation was held on a grand scale at Royal Rose Hall in Yangon from March 8 to March 10 to cast a new set of its leadership in preparation for the next general election in 2015.
The congress selected 100 central committee members on the first day and the remaining 20 central committee members and 30 auxiliary central committee members on the second day.
The poll was conducted whether ex-party members will be included into the party again.
In the selection of the central committee members, a secret ballot system was practiced and then 15 central executive committee members and 5 auxiliary ones were selected. Future tasks and policies of the party will be laid down and distributed to the central work committee.
Speaking on the occasion on the second day, Chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi said, “we could hold the first congress within 25 years.
I heard of criticism of the party’s practicing the centralized system.
“It is right to some degree. When we don’t have the right to carry out the party's functions freely, only the central executive committee has to make decision on some matters. In some situations, except the central executive committee members, the party faced lacking of members who were able to carry out party tasks in all parts of Myanmar. For that reason, leaders were assigned duties as the central executive committee members, she said.
“Now the situation is different. The members are democratically chosen from grassroots level to the central level. At such times, there may be disagreements and sometimes there may be random orders. Democracy is not a perfect system. It has been the best system for the people so far. We must always weigh ourselves for enabling the democracy to bring about interests to the people or to the country. We must always review ourselves whether we can do good things for the people or for the country, Aung San Suu Kyi said.
“Struggles for ranks were seen in the party. Taking responsibility is of great importance. We must remove the mind of eyeing on rank inside the party, the chairperson said.
“There was a word I said in the past. I talked about it from time to time within 25 years. That is rank. Anyhow, now vacant ranks are appearing inside the party and we have to confess that we have those who are crazy about the ranks. Most of party members should deeply consider who should be given the leading role. We must work for the party through responsible spirit but not the thirst of rank, Aung San Suu Kyi said.
“We must look directly at the present. We must know how future objectives will be materialized. We need to review the past and the present in order to properly walk on the future road. At such time, you must cultivate your bravery. If we have weaknesses, we must try to mend them. If we did wrong, we could confess these. Fooling yourself cannot achieve development. I hope the representatives selected from the grassroots level will serve duties for enabling the citizens to enjoy full privileges in turning into a democratic nation. Need to remember the policies of the party, Aung San Suu Kyi said.
Htay Oo, vice chairman of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), Thura Aung Ko, chairman of the Parliament Judiciary and Legislative Affairs Committee and some leaders of the 1988 Generation Students Group attended the second-day session of the congress while some other political parties sent their messages.
USDP vice chairman Htay Oo praised Aung San Suu Kyi's speech in which she stressed all the parties must show cooperation to serve the best interest of the nation.
"When we announced our party's stance, we also said we recognized all the parities as those working together for the nation. I think we have a lot in common," Htay Oo said.
Prior to the NLD's first national congress on Friday, its four members were suspended from being the representatives to the national congress after they had been accused of promoting disunity within the party.
"All are chosen through voting in a free and fair manner. We selected three representatives from Shan State (South) and two each from Shan State (North) and other Shan States. Eight were elected representing the national races. I believe leaders will emerge from this conference to serve the interests of our national brethren and the people," said Tin Naing, chairman of Mongpan Township NLD in Shan State (South) after the first day session.
The NLD party was formed on September 27, 1988 and won a landslide victory in the 1990 election.
Out of 93 political parties that competed in the 1990 election, 83 were abolished but the NLD existed among the remaining 10 parties at that time.
The NLD decided not to renew its registration during a meeting of the party's central leading committee on March 29, 2010 because it was dissatisfied with some restrictions and unacceptable points in the then military government's notification issued on March 8.
The notification stated that the political parties were to renew registration within 60 days.
The NLD however re-registered on December 23, 2011 after the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2010 and the lifting of restriction for former political prisoner to lead the party.
The NLD then ran for by-elections on April 1 last year, winning parliamentary seats in 43 out of the 44 constituencies across the country.
The NLD has about 1.3 million members, according to the party's statistics of the last month.