News / Asia

Burmese Opposition’s Tenure in Government Under Scrutiny

Burmese Opposition’s Tenure in Government Under Scrutinyi
X
March 01, 2013 5:08 PM
Burma's opposition National League for Democracy this month (March 8-10) is holding its first party congress since winning seats in parliament last year. Critics say the NLD, and leader Aung San Suu Kyi, need to re-focus on the party's principles after a year during which they rarely challenged the government. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok.
Daniel Schearf
— Burma's opposition National League for Democracy this month (March 8-10) is holding its first party congress since winning seats in parliament last year.  Critics say the NLD, and leader Aung San Suu Kyi, need to re-focus on the party's principles after a year during which they rarely challenged the government.

Former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi's historic election raised hopes she, and the National League for Democracy, would become vocal opponents of Burma’s rights abuses.

But after siding with public opinion against the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, and failing to condemn military aggression against Kachin rebels, critics say they are compromising their principles.

Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer a rights advocate but a politician, says deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch Phil Robertson.

"Her last comment that she couldn't really intervene unless she was invited by the government to do so and that she was on the wrong parliamentary committee to take up these kind of issues is really the sort of excuse that one would expect from a second-rate politician rather than a Nobel Peace Prize winner," he said.
  
NLD lawmakers make up less than ten percent of the military-dominated parliament  - far too few votes to challenge the military-backed majority. But critics say they have not used their public platform to press for change.

Regional political analyst Thitinan Pongsudhirak says the NLD risks conceding too much.

"Making compromises is one thing," he said. "Being co-opted is another.  And, I think she and the NLD have to be very careful not to be co-opted by the cronies, the military, including the president's team and his government.  It's a very tricky balancing act."
 
NLD spokesman Nyan Win denies the party has failed to aggressively challenge authorities. 

"The NLD has been challenging the policies of the government from the time it entered the by-election until now.  The biggest challenge is that the NLD called for amending the constitution, which is the most important thing for the current government.  The NLD is finding ways to achieve its goals," he said.
 
There have also been internal divisions in the NLD over power sharing between older and younger members.

In central Myin Gyan (myin gin) township hundreds protested at the party office over allegations the election commission rigged an internal party election.

Protest leader Ko Ko Naing says they refused to allow 7,000 younger members to vote, demonstrating that the NLD is losing its way.

"We have complained about the unfairness of the commission to the central committee authorities. They dissolved the commission.  However, they endorsed the commission's unfair election result," he said.
 
NLD spokesman Nyan Win dismisses the controversy as bickering among members.

But he says the party congress will focus on making the NLD more democratic and electing educated, younger, and female leaders.

He says it may also result in a re-evaluation of some party principles.


In a previous version VOA erroneously indentifed Ko Ko Naing and Ko Ko Aung.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid