Myanmar democracy activists allowed to form new party

Former members of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy have been allowed to form a new political party to run in upcoming elections, state media reported on Friday.

Yangon: Former members of Myanmar opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy have
been allowed to form a new political party to run in upcoming
elections, state media reported on Friday.

The activists have been granted permission to create the
National Democratic Force (NDF) to stand in the military-ruled
country`s first election in two decades some time this year,
according to state TV and radio.
The NLD refused to meet a May 6 deadline to re-register
-- a move that would have forced it to expel Suu Kyi -- and
opted to boycott the vote, which critics say is a sham
designed to legitimise the junta`s half-century grip on
power.

Under election legislation unveiled in March, anyone
serving a prison term is banned from being a member of a
political party and parties that fail to obey the rule will be
abolished.

The NLD, which was founded in 1988 after a popular
uprising against the junta that left thousands dead, won a
landslide victory in 1990 elections but the military rulers
never allowed it to take office.

Suu Kyi has spent much of the past 20 years in jail or
house arrest.

There have been signs of friction between older hardline
opposition figures and younger more moderate figures who
opposed the boycott decision.
Former top NLD members have accused the NDF of copying
their symbol of a bamboo hat and recently lodged a complaint
with the election commission in the capital Naypyidaw about
its use of the image in an official seal.

So far 38 political parties out of 43 which applied to be
recognised have been given permission to register ahead of the
elections.

PTI

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