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Ageing Myanmar opposition gets "middle-aged" boost

Last Updated: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 15:21

Yangon: Myanmar`s main opposition party has injected some youth into its aging leadership, although the new recruits are all in their 60s and the ailing 92-year-old chairman keeps the top job.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) of detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said nine "middle-aged" party officials were joining its executive committee, whose 11 existing members have an average age of nearly 82.

"We have added nine middle-aged party officials to fulfil the desire of the party`s youth members and help reinforce the committee," senior NLD member Khin Maung Swe said.

Much of the NLD`s leadership is frail and in poor health. Chairman Aung Shwe has been housebound for over a year due to illness.

Some of the older members are against the NLD running in this year`s elections, the first in two decades, because they believe the constitution gives too much power to the military, which has ruled for almost five decades.

A former top NLD official said it was unlikely the new members, all former political prisoners, would have any impact on party policy in the short term.

"The only change we can expect is a steep drop in the average age," he said. "They have injected new blood into the leadership but the brains of the party will remain as old as before."

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, January 15, 2010 - 15:21

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