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Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has announced that it intends to run in as many constituencies as it can in this year’s general election, but that it is willing to abstain from competing for certain seats to avoid clashing with its allies.
“We will compete in all the constituencies that we can,” party chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi said on Saturday, speaking from her home in Naypyidaw after she made the announcement that the NLD would not boycott the election. “But as you know, there are more than 1,200 seats across the country. We cannot run in every place as there could be some constituencies where we are unable to. But we will run in most places.”
Meanwhile, central committee member Nan Khin Htwe Myint told DVB that the NLD will negotiate with the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP) on where to avoid competing directly against each other.
“We will speak with the CRPP regarding the elections – with a view to avoid competing in constituencies where they have a strong potential,” she said.
The CRPP was formed in 1998 by the NLD alongside other parties that won seats in the 1990 general election, results that were not recognised by the then-ruling military junta.
The other parties who were signatories to the 1998 alliance were: Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, led by Hkun Htun Oo; the Arakan League for Democracy, led by Aye Thar Aung; the Mon National League for Democracy, led by Nai Tun Thein; Kyaw Min’s National Democratic Party for Human Rights; the National Democracy Party, led by Soe Win; the Zomi National Congress, led by Cin Sian Thang; and Htaung Ko Thang’s United Nationalities League for Democracy.
The NLD said it has appointed a three-person delegation of central committee members Nan Khin Htwe Myint, Hantha Myint and Win Htein to sit for talks with the CRPP.
Also on Saturday, Suu Kyi appeared to suggest in her speech that the NLD would consider proposing an alternative candidate for the presidency if it wins the general election.
“I cannot be the president if Section 59 is not amended,” she said. “If you ask me how the NLD is going to handle this issue, I have thought about it, but I cannot say anything at the moment because now is not the right time. We will make a plan that people will be able to accept.”
Article 59(f) of the Burmese constitution bars presidential contenders who have direct family members with foreign citizenship, such as Suu Kyi. A motion to amend the clause was voted down in parliament on 25 June.