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A veteran colleague of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who joined Burma’s fight for independence, died Thursday, his family and colleagues said.
Soe Myint, 87, a central executive committee member of the recently dissolved National League for Democracy (NLD) party, died of heart disease at his house in the country’s main city Rangoon.
“He had stopped breathing in his chair when we went to remind him of a medical check-up for his heart disease,” one of his granddaughters, told AFP.
Soe Myint joined the NLD when it was founded in 1988, after fighting for the Burma Independence Army and Burma Defence Army in the 1940s against Japanese invaders and British colonialists, until the country won independence in 1948.
Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962. Soe Myint was also elected by voters as a member of the NLD when the party won a landslide victory in 1990 elections but the junta never allowed the party to take office.
The NLD was founded in 1988 after a popular uprising against the military junta that left thousands of people dead.
Years of persecution by the junta have left the NLD in poor shape, and the purist stance taken by leaders like Soe Myint, many in their 80s and 90s, has been questioned by a new generation favouring a more pragmatic approach.
Suu Kyi’s NLD was forcibly dissolved early this month under widely criticised laws governing elections that are scheduled for later this year, the first in two decades.
“We are so sorry for losing our colleague. He had many experiences as he went through the long history,” Tin Oo, 83, a vice-chairman of the dissolved NLD told AFP.