THE PEOPLE OF 2004
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, August 24, 2019
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THE PEOPLE OF 2004


By The Irrawaddy DECEMBER, 2004 - VOLUME 12 NO.11


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(Page 18 of 25)

The 80-year-old veteran’s cranky style wins few friends and has frequently landed him in trouble with a critical and much younger press corps.

 

U Lwin’s autocratic behavior upset colleagues when he was deputy prime minister under late dictator Gen Ne Win. When the NLD was allowed to open headquarters in Rangoon a few years ago he was appointed spokesman, and his far from winning ways became even more public.

 

Many NLD members would like to see him go, particularly following the expulsion in September of three party members and the suspension of 27 others for organizing a march in Rangoon.

 

There’s also pressure for rejuvenation in the party leadership, where another veteran in his 80s, Chairman Aung Shwe, is also often accused of fence-sitting and not doing enough to activate the opposition.

 

Younger members want reforms to give the party a more effective, pro-active strategy. The appointment of more than just one party spokesman is also being demanded.

 

Min Ko Naing (former student leader)

 

In a surprise move in November, the junta released Burma’s second most prominent political prisoner, Min Ko Naing, who had spent the previous 16 years in jail, most of the time in solitary confinement.

 

Min Ko NaingHis unexpected release prompted the question: did the junta hope that by freeing the former student leader it could win support at home and abroad?

 

Min Ko Naing, now 42,  is still a popular and respected figure among democracy activists and his unwavering commitment to democratic principles has won him countless admirers and a string of international awards.



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