NLD joins the election race

The weekend announcement by National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that her party will run in the November 8 general election ended months of speculation about the possibility of a boycott.

Addressing journalists at her Nay Pyi Taw residence on July 11, the party leader also mentioned the hotly-debated topic of the presidency, a position for which she is ineligible under Article 59(f) of the constitution.

“We’ve already considered who our candidate will be, but we will not talk about it in public; it is too early for that,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. “We think our candidate will be acceptable to the people,” she said.

Only NLD veteran and former army officer U Tin Oo is seen by some in the party as a viable alternative to the lady, although others have expressed doubt about his age and willingness to take the job.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the NLD would field candidates in state and regional elections and that the party hoped to contest in as many as possible of the country’s 1,200 constituencies. She also said some party MPs in the Union parliament would be rotated, to enable a younger generation of politicians to gain experience in the two chambers.

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In the run-up to the election the NLD will cooperate with some ethnic parties to avoid competing against them in constituencies in ethnic majority areas. Youth, women and ethnic minority candidates will receive priority for selection from the NLD election committee.

Voter lists remain a constant concern, said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The party is trying to correct the lists, but “there are so many errors”, she said.

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