USDP pledges legal action against ‘personal attacks’

By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER

NAY PYI TAW — Defeat is no laughing matter, according to the new leadership of the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Stung by the spread of criticism and satirical comments on social media, USDP leaders told reporters on Sunday that it would launch court action against those who ridiculed the party and its members in accordance with existing defamation laws.

“We decided to take action against these personal attacks because there are so many,” U Khin Yi, a central executive committee member of the party, told media.

The decision was made during a Friday meeting of the party’s governing committee, held at the USDP’s Nay Pyi Taw headquarters.

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The party, which was roundly defeated in last November’s general election after shepherding through a series of political and economic reforms, has been preparing to contest a number of Union Parliament seats in byelections slated for early next year.

Winning only 41 of the 498 seats contested in the Union Parliament last year, the party underwent a leadership reshuffle in August. Its central executive committee remains composed of ex-military officers and former ministers under the U Thein Sein administration — a source of derision among social media users who support the incumbent National League for Democracy government.

Khin Yi said the committee’s latest meeting focused on deciding a response to “unlawful personal attacks”, along with enunciating policy positions in harmony with public, the national causes outlined under the Constitution, and race and religion.

Party chair U Than Htay presided over Friday’s meeting.

Elected to the position in August, Than Htay said the USDP had no plans to modify its platform before the coming byelection, telling reporters that “our policies are already the best policies”.

Former party co-chairs Thein Sein and U Htay Oo, who stepped down from their roles in August, remain on the party’s “central leadership committee”, created to provide advice to the party’s new executive.

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