National League for Democracy

National League for Democracy
National League for Democracy
Burmese: အမျိုးသား ဒီမိုကရေစီအဖွဲ့ချုပ်
English name National League for Democracy
Burmese name အမျိုးသား ဒီမိုကရေစီအဖွဲ့ချုပ်
Leader Aung San Suu Kyi (1988 – present)
Founded 27 September 1988
Headquarters Yangon
Ideology Democracy, Social freedoms, Civil and Political rights
Seats in the Amyotha Hluttaw
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Seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw
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Politics of Burma
Political parties

The National League for Democracy (Burmese: အမျိုးသား ဒီမိုကရေစီအဖွဲ့ချုပ်, IPA: [ʔəmjóðá dìmòkəɹèsì ʔəpʰwḛdʑouʔ]) is a Burmese political party founded on 27 September 1988. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi serves as its General Secretary. The party won a substantial parliamentary majority in the 1990 Burmese 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.[1] In November 2011, the NLD announced its intention to register as a political party in order to contend future elections.



The NLD was formed in the aftermath of the 8888 Uprising, a series of protests in favour of democracy which took place in 1988 and was ended when the military 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.

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.[2] 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.[3] Soon after the election, the party was repressed and in 1989 Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. This was her status for 16 of the following 21 years. She was most recently released 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.[4] 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 government sponsored massacre. Its General Secretary, Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputy, U Tin Oo were again arrested.[5]

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.

The NLD boycotted the general election held in November 2010 because many of its most prominent members were barred from standing. This decision, taken in May, led to the party being officially banned.[1] A splinter group named the National Democratic Force broke away from the NLD to contest the elections,[6] but secured less than 3% of the vote. The election was won in a landslide by the ruling USDP and was described by Barack Obama as "stolen".[7]

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 Burma's political prisoners were freed in an amnesty and trade unions were legalised.[8][9]

On 18 November 2011, following a meeting of its leaders, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order contend 48 by-elections necessitated by the promotion of parliamentarians to ministerial rank.[10] Following the decision, Suu Kyi held a telephone conference with Barack Obama, in which it was agreed that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton would make a visit to Burma, a move received with caution by Burma's ally China.[11] 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.[12]

Party platform

The party advocates a non-violent movement towards multi-party democracy in Burma, under military rule since 1962.[13] The party also supports human rights (including broad-based freedom of speech), the rule of law and national reconciliation.[14]

Party symbols

The party flag features the peacock, a prominent symbol of Burma. The Dancing Peacock (the Peacock in courtship or in display of his feathers) was numerously featured in Burma monarchic flags as well as other nationalist symbols in the country.[15] The Fighting Peacock is associated with decades-long democratic struggle against military dictatorship in the country. The latter closely resembles a Green Peafowl, as it has a tufted crest.

The party emblem is a traditional bamboo hat (ခမောက်).[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b "National League for Democracy disbanded in Myanmar". Haiti News. 2010-05-04. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  2. ^ Houtman, Daigaku & Kenkyūjo, 1999, p. 1
  3. ^ Junta must free Burma's leading lady, The Australian, 19 May 2009
  4. ^ Burma's Confidence Building and Political Prisoners, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
  5. ^ "The Depayin Massacre: Two years on, Justice denied". Asean Inter-parliamentary Myanmar caucus. 30 MAY 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "New Burmese opposition party to contest election". The Guardian. 2010-05-07. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  7. ^ "15,000 flee Burma in post-election violence". CBC News. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Burma frees dozens of political prisoners". BBC News. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Burma law to allow labour unions and strikes". BBC News. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Suu Kyi's NLD democracy party to rejoin Burma politics". BBC News. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "U.S. sees Burma reforms as strategic opening to support democracy". Washington Post. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "EU hails Myanmar moves, reviewing policy". 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Burma flag and emblems
  16. ^ Hla Tun, Aung (3 July 2010). "Burmese democrats fall out over bamboo hat symbol". The Indepedent. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 


External links

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