A second woman is set to join the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of Burma’s main opposition party

NLD restructures top decision-making body

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A second woman is set to join the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of Burma’s main opposition party, National League for Democracy (NLD), as the party today formally announced the expansion of its principle policy organ.

In a statement on Thursday, the NLD announced the addition of nine new members to its CEC, including Dr. May Win Myint, an elected Member of Parliament from Mayankone Township, and Dr. Than Nyein, the brother-in-law of the former Military Intelligence (MI) Chief and purged Prime Minister Khin Nyunt.
Dr. May Win Myint will be the second woman to serve on the NLD’s steering committee after the party’s detained General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi. Before her arrest in 1997, she led the NLD’s women’s wing.
Dr. Than Nyein has also served long prison terms, only recently being released in September 2008 along with fellow NLD leaders Win Tin and Khin Maung Swe. Despite being the brother-in-law of purged Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, Dr. Than Nyein is one of the founding members of the NLD.The NLD said it is choosing to expand that CEC in order to allow younger generations to participate and to ease party activities.

Dr. Win Naing, another of the added CEC members, told Mizzima on Thursday that his appointment as a new member of the CEC means more responsibilities and more tasks to carry out.

“I don’t think there is anything to be delighted about with being appointed as a new CEC member. There is more work and responsibility,” Dr. Win Naing articulated.

Other newly appointed members are Win Myint, a member of the NLD’s Legal Committee, Tun Tun Hein, a Minister of Parliament-elect from Naung Cho in Shan State, Nyan Win, a Minister of Parliament-elect from Ahpaung Township, Han Thar Myint, a Minister of Parliament-elect from Buhthalin Township, Thein Nyunt, a Miniser of Parliament-elect from Thingankyun Township, and Ohn Kyaing, a member of the Central Information Committee.

With the additional nine members added, the NLD’s CEC now numbers 20. However, with party Vice-Chair Tin Oo and General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi still under house arrest, the party is left with only 18 members able to carry out daily work.The expansion of the CEC comes after detained party General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi in December held a meeting with three of the party’s aging leaders – Chairman Aung Shwe, Secretary U Lwin and Lun Tin – at which they reportedly discussed the expansion issue.

While the NLD’s official statement said the expansion is aimed at increasing the party’s work and efficiency, some observers also say the timing is attributable to the scheduled general election to be held later this year.

Nyo Ohn Myint, an exiled political observer and member of the NLD in exile Foreign Affairs Committee, said expanding the CEC at this time is the right thing to do, as the year 2010 could possibly see a political tug-of-war between the ruling junta and opposition.

He added that it is important for the NLD, as the leading mainstream opposition, to strengthen its steering committee with younger generations, as several party leaders are aging and in poor health.

The Burmese military junta has declared a general election in 2010 as part of its seven-step roadmap to democracy. The election, according to the junta, will pave the way for the installation of a civilian government.

But the NLD, along with several other opposition groups, has demanded the junta first release all political prisoners and revise the 2008 constitution, the foundation of the assumed new government.

The CEC’s 11 incumbent members are: Chairman Aung Shwe (92), Vice-Chairman Tin Oo, General Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi, Secretary U Lwin (86), Lun Tin (89), Win Tin (80), Soe Myint (87), Hla Pe, Than Tun, Khin Maung Swe and Nyunt Wai.

The expansion was agreed upon at a meeting on January 11th held at the party’s headquarters on West Shwegondine Street in Rangoon.

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