National League for Democracy

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National League for Democracy
အမျိုးသား ဒီမိုကရေစီ အဖွဲ့ချုပ်
AbbreviationNLD
ChairpersonAung San Suu Kyi
PatronTin Oo
FoundersAung Shwe
Tin Oo
Kyi Maung
Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung Gyi
Founded27 September 1988 (32 years ago) (1988-09-27)
Headquarters97B West Shwe Gon Daing Road, Bahan Township, Yangon[1]
IdeologyLiberal democracy[2]
Liberal conservatism[2]
Populism[3]
Protectionism[4]
Historical:
Social democracy[5]
Regional affiliationCouncil of Asian Liberals and Democrats (observer)
ColoursRed
Party flag
Flag of National League for Democracy.svg
Website
nld-official.org

The National League for Democracy (Burmese: အမျိုးသား ဒီမိုကရေစီ အဖွဲ့ချုပ်, IPA: [ʔəmjóðá dìmòkəɹèsì ʔəpʰwḛdʑoʊʔ]; abbr. NLD; Burmese abbr. ဒီချုပ်) is a liberal democratic political party in Myanmar (Burma). It became the country's ruling party after a landslide victory in the 2015 general election, but was overthrown in a military coup d'état in early 2021.[6]

Founded on 27 September 1988, it has become one of the most influential parties in Myanmar's pro-democracy movement. Aung San Suu Kyi, the former State Counsellor of Myanmar, serves as its chairperson.[7] The party won a substantial parliamentary majority in the 1990 Myanmar general election. However, the ruling military junta refused to recognise the result. On 6 May 2010, the party was declared illegal and ordered to be disbanded by the junta after refusing to register for the elections slated for November 2010.[8] In November 2011, the NLD announced its intention to register as a political party to contend future elections, and Myanmar's Union Election Commission approved their application for registration on 13 December 2011.[9]

In the 2012 by-elections, the NLD contested 44 of the 45 available seats, winning 43, with its only loss being in one seat to the SNDP.[10] Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi won the seat of Kawhmu.[11]

In the 2015 general election, the NLD won a supermajority in both houses of the Assembly, paving the way for the country's first non-military president in 54 years.

The NLD is an observer party of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats.

History[edit]

The NLD was formed in the aftermath of the 8888 Uprising, a series of protests in favour of democracy which took place in 1990 and was ended when the military again took control of the country in a coup. It formed under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Aung San, a pivotal figure in the Burmese independence movement of the 1940s. She was recruited by concerned democracy advocates.[citation needed] The first founding chair is Brigadier General Aung Gyi and Aung San Suu Kyi is the General Secretary of the Party.

In the 1990 parliamentary elections, the party took 59% of the vote and won 392 out of 492 contested seats, compared to 10 seats won by the governing National Unity Party.[12] However, the ruling military junta (formerly SLORC, later known as the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC) did not let the party form a government.[13] Soon after the election, the party was repressed and in 1996 Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. This was her status for 16 of the following 21 years until her release on 13 November 2010. A number of senior NLD members escaped arrest, however, and formed the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB).

In 2001, the government permitted NLD office branches to re-open throughout Burma and freed some imprisoned members.[14] In May 2002, NLD's general secretary, Aung San Suu Kyi was again released from house arrest. She and other NLD members made numerous trips throughout the country and received support from the public. However, on their trip to Depayin township in May 2003, dozens of NLD members were shot and killed in a military sponsored massacre. Its general secretary, Aung San Suu Kyi and Party's Vice President, U Tin Oo were again arrested.[15]

From 2004, the government prohibited the activities of the party. In 2006, many members resigned from NLD, citing harassment and pressure from the Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) and the Union Solidarity and Development Association. In October 2008, following the crackdown on the aftermath of the Saffron Revolution a bomb exploded in the Htan Chauk Pin quarter of the Shwepyitha Township of Yangon, near the office of the military junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association killing one.[16] The victim was identified as Thet Oo Win, a former Buddhist monk who participated in the Saffron Revolution, was killed while improvising the bomb at his own residence.[17] The junta blamed the National League for Democracy party of planting that bomb, but experts believed at the time that the opposition was not in a position to carry out such acts amidst the tightly controlled security environment.[17] The junta detained several members of the party in connection with the bombings that year.[18]

The NLD boycotted the general election held in November 2010 because many of its most prominent members were barred from standing. The laws were designed in such a way that the party would have had to expel these members to be allowed to run. This decision, taken in May, led to the party being officially banned.[8] A splinter group named the National Democratic Force broke away from the NLD to contest the elections,[19] but secured less than 3% of the vote. The election was won in a landslide by the military-backed USDP and was described by U.S. President Barack Obama as "stolen".[20]

Discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government during 2011, which led to a number of official gestures to meet her demands. In October, around a tenth of Myanmar's political prisoners were freed in an amnesty and trade unions were legalised.[21][22]

On 18 November 2011, following a meeting of its leaders, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order to contend in 48 by-elections necessitated by the promotion of parliamentarians to ministerial rank.[23] Following the decision, Suu Kyi held a telephone conference with Barack Obama, in which it was agreed that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a visit to Myanmar, a move received with caution by Burma's ally China.[24] The visit took place on 30 November.[25] European Union Vice President Catherine Ashton welcomed the possibility of "fair and transparent" elections in Burma, and said that the EU would be reviewing its foreign policy towards the country.[26]

The party was criticised for discouraging Muslim candidates during preparations for the 2015 elections, a step seen as related to its desire to keep good relations with hardline Buddhist monks such as the Ma Ba Tha association.[27] Ko Ni, a legal advisor to the party and a Muslim, was assassinated in January 2017. The party has also been criticized by international media outlets for its lack of response to renewed military-led violence against the Rohingya beginning in 2016, as well as for "doing little to address the country’s weak rule of law, corrupt judiciary, or impunity for security force abuses" with the power they had (although several national institutions remain dominated by the military).[28]

In the aftermath of the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état, NLD offices were occupied and raided by police authorities, starting on 2 February.[29] Documents, computers and laptops were forcibly seized, and the NLD called these raids unlawful.[29] On 9 February, police raided the NLD headquarters in Yangon.[30]

Party platform[edit]

National League for Democracy's headquarters in Yangon (before reconstruction)

The party advocates a non-violent movement towards multi-party democracy in Myanmar, which was under military rule from 1962 to 2011.[31] The party also claims to support human rights (including broad-based freedom of speech), the rule of law, and national reconciliation.[32]

She also claimed amendments to the constitution of 2008, drafted with the input of the armed forces. She stated that its mandatory granting of 25% of seats in parliament to appointed military representatives is undemocratic.[33]

Party symbols[edit]

The party flag features the peacock, a prominent symbol of Myanmar. The dancing peacock (the peacock in courtship or in display of its feathers) was frequently featured in Burmese monarchic flags as well as other nationalist symbols in the country.[34] The fighting peacock is associated with the decades-long democratic struggle against military dictatorship in the country. The latter closely resembles a green peafowl, as it has a tufted crest. The NLD party symbol is adopted from the Myanmar (Burmese) Student Union flag. This student union organised since the uprising against British colonial rule in Burma, years before the independence of Burma in 1948, had played a major political role in Burma and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's late father Bogyoke Aung San (General Aung San) was one of the former presidents of the Rangoon University Student Union.

The party emblem is a traditional bamboo hat (ခမောက်).[35]

Election results[edit]

Burmese Constitutional Committee[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Note Election leader
1990
392 / 492
7,930,841 52.5% Increase 392 Not recognised Aung San Suu Kyi

House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw)[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Note Election leader
2010
0 / 224
Boycotted Aung San Suu Kyi
2012
5 / 224
Increase 4 Opposition Aung San Suu Kyi
2015
135 / 224
Increase 131 Majority government Aung San Suu Kyi
2020
138 / 224
Increase 3 Not recognised Aung San Suu Kyi

House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw)[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Note Election leader
2010
0 / 440
Boycotted Aung San Suu Kyi
2012
37 / 440
Increase 37 Opposition
2015
255 / 440
12,794,561 57.1% Increase 218 Majority government
2020
258 / 440
Increase 3 Not recognised

State and Regional Hluttaws[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Note Election leader
2015
476 / 850
Increase 474 Aung San Suu Kyi
2020
501 / 880
Increase 25

Women's Committee[edit]

NLD Women's Committee (Burmese: အမျိုးသားဒီမိုကရေစီအဖွဲ့ချုပ် အမျိုးသမီး ကော်မတီ) is the committee of NLD women and provided legal and social assistance to women in need. Women’s Work Committees have been formed at all administrative levels, including region and state, ward, and village. The chairman of the Central Women’s Committee is May Win Myint[36][37][38]

No Name Duties
1. May Win Myint Chairperson
2. Zin Mar Aung Secretary
3. Khin Khin Phyu Member
4. Shwe Pone Member
5. Lat Lat Member
6. Thet Htar Nwe Member
7. Thandar Member
8. Than Than Aye Member
9. Aye Aye Mar Member
10. Aye Mu (or) Shar Mee Member

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frangos, Alex; Patrick Barta (30 March 2012). "Once-Shunned Quarters Becomes Tourist Mecca". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 April 2012.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Zappulla, Roberta (2017). Challenges for the National League for Democracy in Achieving Peace and Democracy in Myanmar (PDF). Metropolitan University of Prague – via Research gate. The firm ideology of the NLD founds a new facet amid democratic liberalism and liberal conservatism.
  3. ^ Khin Zaw Win (March 2018). Falling back on populism in post-ideology Myanmar (PDF). Authoritarian Populism and the Rural World. Emancipato ry Rural Politics Initiative – via Transnational Institute.
  4. ^ Yap, Livia; Redmond, Tom (6 March 2019). "Asia Investors Split With West Over Myanmar's Rohingya Crackdown". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Leftist Parties of Myanmar". Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  6. ^ Mahtani, Shibani. "Myanmar military seizes power in coup after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi". The Washington post. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  7. ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (9 November 2015). "What happened when Aung San Suu Kyi's party last won an election in Burma". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  8. ^ a b "National League for Democracy disbanded in Myanmar". Haiti News. 4 May 2010. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  9. ^ Suu Kyi's Myanmar opposition party wins legal status Archived 4 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, The Associated Press, 13 December 2011
  10. ^ "It is the victory of the people: Aung San Suu Kyi on Myanmar – World News – IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. 10 May 2011. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Myanmar election commission announces NLD wins overwhelmingly in by-elections". Xinhua. 2 April 2012. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  12. ^ Houtman, Daigaku & Kenkyūjo, 1999, p. 1
  13. ^ Junta must free Burma's leading lady Archived 16 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Australian, 19 May 2009
  14. ^ "Burma's Confidence Building and Political Prisoners" (PDF). aappb.org. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  15. ^ "The Depayin Massacre: Two years on, Justice denied" (PDF). Asean Inter-parliamentary Myanmar caucus. 30 May 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  16. ^ "One Dead in Burma Blasts". Radio Free Asia. AFP. 20 October 2008. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Increasing bomb blasts worry Rangoon residents – Zarni & Mungpi" (1). BurmaNet News. Mizzima News. 21 October 2008. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Agence France Presse: Myanmar blast victim was ex-monk turned bombmaker: state media". BurmaNet News. AFP. 21 October 2008. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  19. ^ "New Burmese opposition party to contest election". The Guardian. London. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  20. ^ "15,000 flee Burma in post-election violence". CBC News. 8 November 2010. Archived from the original on 11 December 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  21. ^ "Burma frees dozens of political prisoners". BBC News. 12 October 2011. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  22. ^ "Burma law to allow labour unions and strikes". BBC News. 14 October 2011. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  23. ^ "Suu Kyi's NLD democracy party to rejoin Burma politics". BBC News. 18 November 2011. Archived from the original on 19 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  24. ^ Whitlock, Craig (19 November 2011). "U.S. sees Burma reforms as strategic opening to support democracy". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  25. ^ "'Hopeful' Hillary Clinton starts Burma visit". BBC News. 30 November 2011. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  26. ^ "EU hails Myanmar moves, reviewing policy". Reuters. 18 November 2011. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  27. ^ News, Jonah Fisher BBC. "Aung San Suu Kyi's party excludes Muslim candidates". BBC News. Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Myanmar". Human Rights Watch. World Report 2019. 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  29. ^ a b "Myanmar's NLD says offices raided in 'unlawful acts', computers, documents seized". money.yahoo.com. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  30. ^ Staff, Reuters (9 February 2021). "Myanmar police raid headquarters of Suu Kyi's NLD party - lawmakers". Reuters. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  31. ^ "Aung San Suu Kyi released". CBC News. 13 November 2010. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010.
  32. ^ "Suu Kyi calls for talks with junta leader". CBC News. 14 November 2010. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010.
  33. ^ "Democracy Digest » Burma must repeal repressive laws, Suu Kyi says in leaked broadcast". 10 May 2013. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013.
  34. ^ "Burma flag and emblems". Myanmars.net. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  35. ^ Hla Tun, Aung (3 July 2010). "Burmese democrats fall out over bamboo hat symbol". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 16 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  36. ^ "NLD holds first Nationwide Women's Work Committees Congress in Nay Pyi Taw". Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  37. ^ "Women's Work Committees' Congress recommends no discussion on role of military in politics". Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  38. ^ "NLD Women's Committees". Retrieved 28 August 2018.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Houtman, Gustaaf. Daigaku, Tōkyō Gaikokugo. Kenkyūjo, Ajia Afurika Gengo Bunka. Mental culture in Burmese crisis politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. ILCAA, 1999. ISBN 978-4-87297-748-6.

External links[edit]