One Championship

NLD excludes most of ’88 Generation from Myanmar poll


Not wanted by the National League for Democracy, well-known 88 Generation activist Ko Ko Gyi. Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima

The National League for Democracy (NLD) has rejected bids by 17 members of Myanmar’s respected “88 generation” to join its ranks and contest November's election, a controversial omission of a group that was expected to galvanise its bid to dominate the ballot Reuters reported on 2 August.

The party selected only one member of the popular crop of activists, who suffered years of persecution after leading nationwide student protests in 1988 that were brutally crushed by the ruling military.

Pyone Cho was the sole member of the group selected to represent the party in the ballot. The NLD received 3,000 applications and will field 1,090 candidates.

The NLD's candidate list does include several intellectuals and activists, including free speech advocate Nay Phone Latt and Susanna Hla Hla Soe, who heads a female empowerment group.

The most high-profile exclusion was the charismatic protest leader Ko Ko Gyi, who spent more than 17 years in and out of prison before his 2012 release. 

Some experts said the decision risks dividing groups that have a shared vision of a more democratic Myanmar under which the military, which is guaranteed three ministerial positions and a quarter of legislative seats, has no political role.

Party spokesman Nyan Win said it was the prerogative of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee to choose who it wanted for its members of parliament.

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