Burma Eases Limits on Party Membership
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Burma

Burma Eases Limits on Party Membership


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Saturday, November 5, 2011


In this photo taken on Jan. 4, 2010, supporters of the National League for Democracy Party dance with tradition musical troop at the party headquarters in Rangoon. (Photo: AP)
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RANGOON — Burma's president has signed a revised law on political parties in an apparent attempt to encourage Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy to accept the political system and reregister as a party.

President Thein Sein signed the amendments to the Political Party Registration Law on Friday as senior US diplomats were ending a visit to encourage his government to push forward with democratic reforms. A UN envoy has also been visiting.

If the National League for Democracy reregisters as a legal party, it could join upcoming but still unscheduled by-elections that would be the first electoral test of its popularity in more than two decades.

Bringing Suu Kyi's party back into the fold would also give the government greater legitimacy at home and abroad.

The group was delisted as a political party last year after it refused to register for November 2010 elections, saying they were being held under undemocratic conditions.

The amendments of the party law signed by Thein Sein alter three areas of the law to accommodate Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy.

The law, originally enacted in March last year by the previous military junta, prohibited anyone who has been convicted of a crime from being a member of a political party. Suu Kyi had been convicted on a trumped-up charge, and would have had to leave the party she helped found. The clause has now been dropped, clearing the way for former political prisoners to engage in politics.

Another article was amended to say that registered parties shall "respect and abide" by the constitution rather than "safeguard" it. The change was evidently made to accommodate criticisms of the charter by Suu Kyi's group without making them illegal.

The third amendment says that any party that registers after the general election must run candidates in at least three constituencies in by-elections to remain legally registered. The original law said a party had to stand at least three candidates in the general election, which would have been an impediment to Suu Kyi's party, since it boycotted the 2010 polls.

"Now that the law has been passed, we will hold a meeting to decide whether or not we will register," the spokesman of Suu Kyi's group, Nyan Win, told The Associated Press. Nyan Win said the amendments were in line with the group's wishes.

The junta that ruled Burma, also known as Myanmar, until handing over power to the current elected military-backed government in March this year enacted a constitution and other laws with provisions aimed at limiting Suu Kyi's political activities, fearing her influence. Her party overwhelming won a 1990 general election, but the army refused to had over power, instead repressing Suu Kyi and other democracy activists.

The US and other Western countries imposed political and economic sanctions against the junta for its failure to hand over power and its poor human rights record.

The elections last November gave an army-backed party a huge majority in Parliament, and the constitution contains provisions that ensure the continued domination of the armed forces.

However, Thein Sein, who was the junta's prime minister, has instituted a series of small reforms to encourage political reconciliation, including an easing of censorship and the opening of a dialogue with Suu Kyi.

At the same time, the Obama administration has sought to engage the government, shifting away from the previous US policy of shunning it.

US special envoy to Burma Derek Mitchell told reporters in Rangoon on Friday that Thein Sein's government has taken positive steps and that Washington views the release of political prisoners and bringing the National League for Democracy into the political system as necessary reforms.

"We are thinking very actively about how we can support reform by our actions as we see the government taking those concrete steps," he said. He said the US "would love to respond in kind" and was consulting closely with the government.

The US could gradually ease its sanctions against Myanmar and allow aid from multilateral lending institutions such as the World Bank, over which it has exercised a veto.

Vijay Nambiar, a special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also concluded a visit Friday and added his voice to those encouraging further reforms.

"An important purpose of my visit was to directly relay to the Myanmar leadership and other stakeholders the secretary-general's encouragement of the important steps taken in recent months to advance the reform agenda led by President Thein Sein, as well as the significant efforts made by all concerned to advance national dialogue and reconciliation," he said in a statement.



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Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
11/11/2011
Surely, if Aung San Suu Kyi were a British citizen, she could be deported legally. I believe she is a Burmese citizen.

As for leaving Burma and coming back to Burma, she could have done that when her husband was on deathbed.

IT IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE THAT SHE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED BACK IN.

Because the truth is that as a daughter of Burma she would be allowed back in. She did not leave Burma. Why? If she did and was allowed to come back in, all the accusations about the regime would go down the drain and she would lose all credibility.

David Wrote:
09/11/2011
ZL u r partly right not because she is married to a foreigner,BUT because she is a FOREIGNER.
Su Kyi left Burma/Myanmar @ an very young age.Took up BRITISH citizenship.Married a well educated Mr.Aris.So She is Mrs.Aris.

Came back to BURMA on a VISITORS VISA to attend to her ailing mother.While there was thrown into the spot light on the back drop of her FATHERS status.

Educated & well known around the world mostly because of her Father.The people of Burma was looking 4 a leader,who else 2 turn 2,but Su Kyi.

The NLD was mainly disqualified fr the ELECTIONS because they elected her LEADER.
Being a foreigner that AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED her.Knowing all this NLD still took her on board to gain the "POPULARITY VOTE".

The goverment will not touch her,let anything happen,& give her more space, because if anything happens 2 her they will have 2 answer 2 the BRITISH.She will not leave, cause she will not b allowed bk in 2 the country being a "FOREIGNER".

GOD HELP U ALL.THE TRUTH NDS 2 B TOLD!!!!!


Oo Maung gyi Wrote:
07/11/2011
NLD should register now so that it will become a legal political party under 2008 constitution, then it can participate freely. Also at the same time it should open a page for newcomers and require to make lots of reforms within the party.

ZL Wrote:
06/11/2011
I thought we still couldn't vote for Daw Su as she was once married to a foreigner?

Ohn Wrote:
06/11/2011
The most urgent and important thing is not these pretentious laws or the political prisoners. Admirable as the prisoners are, they choose to do it for a purpose.

At this moment the most important thing is to stop the government from killing, raping, torture and destruction.

Everybody must concentrate on this and for the moment this alone.

Stop raping and killing. Nothing else matter at this stage.

Aung San Suu Kyi will find that if she put ALL her effort in stopping killing and raping for now rather than doing anything else it is most rewarding and most important.

Please everybody stop the killings and raping. Please, please.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Zarganar, Kyaw Thu everybody.z

Ohn Wrote:
06/11/2011
Than Shwe has arranged to lower the noose for NLD.

Please everybody, condemn the killings, looting and raping by the military. Even though it is normal government policy in Burma, it is wrong. Please someone tell that nice president that raping these defenseless girls are not really to be proud of. In fact cowardly. They must be stopped NOW.

It is unbelievable that the people's champion NLD and a hosts of foreign visitors choose not to condemn the government for cruelty currently happening. It is NOT normal folks.

violet Wrote:
06/11/2011
NLD should register this time to participate in the future election. They should stop the dream of 90 victory. They should respect Myanmar People's will of changes with democracy instead of holding party politics. This is the only way for NLD to fulfill People wish being waited for ages. Please register in respects of the national interest.

Phyo Oo Wrote:
06/11/2011
What is that man named Vijay Nambiar doing in Burma? For photo opportunity? Didn't he say Suu Kyi was out of touch with reality, stubborn and not relevant in the process anymore, etc, etc...last time he visited Burma. Like UN useless man Ganbari before him, role of the UN's so called envoys in Burma's struggle is totally useless. Burmese history has recorded them as such.

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
06/11/2011
Put a viper in the pocket. What will you get?

Moe Aung Wrote:
06/11/2011
The NLD entering the 'big tent' will be a major propaganda and political coup for the newly 'democratic' govt so they can stand tall and show off their democratic credentials, never mind the raging civil war turning ethnic homelands into hell and political prisoners still languishing behind bars with their health and youth steadily sapped away from them.

ASSK does not seem to have a lot of choice if she completely shuns violence even as an option notwithstanding her Western backers who have shown no qualms about supporting mass protests and popular uprisings including direct armed intervention in the Middle East.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bRVgAiUz_c )
And they'll be happy to welcome Burma into their new world order of profits before people and markets over mankind one way or the other.

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