RANGOON — Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), will decide whether to accept its former members at its upcoming nationwide assembly, according to party sources.
On March 8-10, the NLD will hold its first party congress in 25 years in the former capital Rangoon. It will also be the first time the party has had a chance to decide whether to readmit those who split, resigned or were suspended from the party but later reapplied for membership.
Win Tin, a senior party figure, told The Irrawaddy that the three-day conference will not only focus on policy matters and rules and regulations, but also consider what to do about lapsed members.
“Of course, we will review their applications,” he said. “We don’t have any policy against reaccepting them. The congress will lay down a policy on them, including those who were charged or suspended by the party and who resigned from membership.”
Ohn Kyaing, the head of NLD’s Information Department, echoed Win Tin, adding that such decisions on whether to accept former members can only be made at the congress.
Former NLD members reacted to their statements differently.
Khin Maung Swe, an NLD executive who separated from the party to form the National Democratic Force (NDF) in order to contest the 2010 election, said he will neither re-join nor cooperate with the NLD.
Kyi Myint, a member of the Lower House from Rangoon’s Latha Township, said even though he left the NLD and contested the 2010 election, he later reapplied for membership when the party registered for the by-election last year, but still doesn’t know if he has been accepted.
“I said I would re-join the NLD if it re-registers as a political party. That’s why I submitted my membership application quite a long ago,” said Kyi Myint.
Phone Myint Aung, a member of the Upper House, said he will have to wait and see the NLD’s policy on its former members before he makes a decision on joining the party.
“Before, the NLD considered those who participated in the 2010 election betrayers, so I have to see how it regards them now,” said Phone Myint Aung.
The NLD congress, which will be attended by about 900 party members from 260 townships, will also choose the party’s new leadership.