(Interview) – The leadership of the National League for Democracy (NLD) has said party leaders will meet very soon to consider re-registering as a political party. On April 29, 2009, the NLD declared that it would take part in elections only if all political prisoners were released, the undemocratic principles in the 2008 Constitution were amended, and international groups monitored the election. The NLD boycotted the November 2010 general election because those conditions were not met. Mizzima reporter Ko Pauk interviewed WinTin, a central executive member and a co-founder of the NLD, on whether the NLD requirements are still valid.
Question: Are the NLD preconditions declared in 2009 still valid in order for the NLD to re-register as a political party?
Answer: The party has to consider how much the prevailing conditions different from when we made the “Shwe Gone Taing” declaration and now.
Q: The declaration was made based on extensive consultations with the party's leadership, state and divisional organizers and working groups on women and youth. Can we say those are the party's principles?
A: You can say that. But as I said earlier, the times now are different, and it could depend upon how we access the differences between then and now. If our understanding of conditions is different now, our position could be changed.
Q: Out of three demands made in Shwe Gone Taing declaration, how much was achieved during the past two years?
A: So far, we haven’t yet seen any developments on constitutional reforms. We can assume that it [the government] is working on the political prisoners release to some extent. But I said, we haven't been satisfied yet with the political prisoners release. We have to wait and see, how the constitutional reform might happened, whether there is any attempt at constitutional reform, or if the NLD could promise to work for constitutional reform if the party leadership were elected to Parliament. I think we have to consider the possible outcomes.
Q: If the NLD re-registers without getting any of its demands, can we assume that it violated its own principles?
A: It is hard to say that. The party has an obligation to stand for its principles. But it depends on how the party leadership understands the situation and how it analyzes the possibilities. The leadership has a responsibility to clarify its position. We must wait and see if things become clearer. For me, it is hard to give a personal view. I think the issue must be considered by the whole party leadership structure.
Q: Do you expect a central executive committee meeting this coming Friday to consider the issue?
A: Yes. The meeting could be around Friday, but I am not sure.