Myanmar's Largest Political Party NLD Dissolved By Myanmar Junta

Myanmar's Largest Political Party NLD Dissolved By Myanmar Junta

April 1, 2023 - 4:54 am

Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD, one of 40 political parties, Is Dissolved

According to state television MRTV, the military-appointed election commission has dissolved Myanmar's largest political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), which has been led by Aung San Suu Kyi since its founding in 1988, because it failed to re-register in accordance with the new electoral law. The National League for Democracy (NLD) party was one of 40 political parties that missed the military-controlled government's election registration deadline. This action shows how the military is turning inward as it attempts to maintain its power grab through a "election."

What is Myanmar’s New Election Law?

A new political party registration rule that the military government passed on January 26 makes it challenging for opposition groups to seriously challenge the army's preferred candidates. In light of the restrictive political context, it sets conditions for minimum levels of membership, candidates, and offices that would be difficult for any party to meet without the assistance of the army and its supporters. In accordance with the new law, all currently registered political parties must reapply for registration with the election commission by March 28 in order to avoid being "automatically invalidated" and deemed to have dissolved. In addition, it states that parties whose registrations are revoked by the law or who dissolve themselves of their own volition must leave their assets to the government. The NLD did not register despite having declared it would not run in the election. As a result, on March 28 it was dissolved. Less than 60 of the 92 parties that existed prior to the coup have renewed by the deadline. 

Why the National League for Democracy (NLD) Failed to Register?

Even if the NLD had registered, it would have been challenging for it to meet any of these requirements with about 80 of its leaders behind bars, including the 77-year-old Suu Kyi who is serving a 33-year term. The only other party with a presence in all of Myanmar's regions with a Bamar majority is the USDP, which is openly favoured by the law.

What is the National League for Democracy (NLD)?

1988 saw the establishment of the National League for Democracy following a failed revolt against the military government. It won a general election in 1990 that the nation's military rulers later declared illegitimate. It was theoretically prohibited after refusing to participate in a 2010 election conducted by the military because it did not believe it was free or fair, but was permitted to register after deciding to run in 2011. It came into power after sweepingly winning the general election in 2015. Prior to being overthrown by the military in 2021, the NLD ruled Myanmar with a resounding majority in Parliament from 2015 to that time.

Why was Aung San Suu Kyi Imprisoned?

After the NLD won the elections in November 2020 but was swiftly put under control by the military, political instability in the nation started. Immediately after winning, the army staged a coup and imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi, blaming election fraud for their actions. But, investigators were unable to uncover any proof of electoral fraud. Suu Kyi is incarcerated for 33 years after being found guilty in various cases that the military upheld. According to her supporters, the charges against her were brought against her with the intent of having her completely exiled from politics.

The Way Forward For NLD

The UN has expressed worry about Aung San Suu Kyi's political party being dissolved by the military in Myanmar and has demanded that the nation's democratic spirit be reinstated. The international community won't fall into the trap set by the junta, which seeks to consolidate all power in its own hands, even if its credibility is waning. 

 August will see the junta hold an election, which is already generally viewed as a staged power move. A military proxy party that fared poorly in the previous two elections is poised to dominate. The country's peace and tranquillity, as well as the values of democratic transition, have been undermined by the power struggle. This has damaged Myanmar's political ecosystem's reputation as being unable to handle such problems. 

The NLD party has faced numerous challenges, but has so far come out stronger on the other side. With the NLD's early decision to withdraw, it seems Suu Kyi still has influence over the group. Nevertheless, it's uncertain how long. Because of her lengthy sentences, it might be years before she speaks out, by which time the generational divide in the party might be too great to overcome.