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Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar opposition reappoints Aung San Suu Kyi as party leader

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 12:48pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 March, 2013, 12:48pm

Myanmar’s long-silenced opposition reappointed Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as party leader at a landmark maiden congress on Sunday, as it eyes victory in elections set for 2015.

The former political prisoner, who entered parliament last year, was unanimously selected as chairwoman by her National League for Democracy’s 120-member Central Committee, a party source told news agency AFP.

Hundreds of NLD members have gathered in Yangon for the conference in a display of political strength that would have been unthinkable under the junta.

For the benefit of the country we should unite and get along
Aung San Suu Kyi

But the meeting also revealed the challenges faced by the party, including a lack of experience as well as internal divisions. Four members were banned from attending the conference after being accused of trying to influence voting.

Suu Kyi on Sunday urged her opposition party to “seize the opportunity” as it gears up for what is expected to be a major victory for the NLD in the 2015 polls, given that the vote is free and fair.

“For the benefit of the country we should unite and get along,” she told delegates. “I would like to ask that you do not allow personal feelings to harm the future of the nation,” she added.

After being sidelined by Myanmar’s military rulers for two decades, the party entered the political mainstream last year as a result of sweeping reforms initiated by a new reformist government.

But some observers question whether the NLD is ready to run an impoverished nation whose economy, education and health systems were left in tatters by the corrupt former junta.

Fault lines have also been detected between the older top party officials – the so-called “NLD uncles” – and a younger generation eager to help steer the party as Myanmar enters a new era.

 

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