34th Anniversary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and getting out of the shadow of the dictatorship


Myanmar Spring Chronicle – September 27 Scenes
MoeMaKa, September 28 2022

 The ceremony for the 34th anniversary of the founding of the National League for Democracy, held on September 27, was broadcast live online. It can be said that the NLD party, as a party on the ground, is being cautious under the eyes of the military council. On this 34th anniversary, it was said to be peculiar because the ceremony was openly held with NLD party members from CRPH and NUG based in the liberated areas, together with members of Parliament (MPs) and their allies. Online broadcasts were also broadcast live from media platforms sided with the Spring Revolution, such as PVTV. (Additional note: now I can’t see the live video anymore.)


Recently, NLD party leaders discussed whether they would work together or not with limitations on the issue of NUCC. As a party on the ground and as a party that won the 2020 election, I have heard that there were debates among themselves about whether or not to hoist the party flag in the liberated areas. Some observers commented that it was a party that had a hard time considering so some pressing issues, such as being able to stand as a legal party on ground under the military council in the current situation, being able to participate in political discussion, considering the possibility of the 2023 election, and interacting continuously with party leaders and members who remained on the ground and political prisoners, including Detainee Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint.


Now, the NLD’s 34th birthday was celebrated with party members, leaders and MPs who were abroad and had fled from the country. If the statement of the NLD party’s position at this ceremony is the same as the unanimous will of party leaders, party members and MPs across Myanmar, then I don’t know if it can be said that the NLD party is marching together with the Spring Revolution.

“We can clearly see that the National Democratic League was not only established for the democratic rights of the people, but also stood firmly on the side of the people in the face of many difficulties,” the acting president of NUG said in a congratulatory speech at the ceremony. In addition, Acting President Duwa Lashi La reiterated that when the NLD Party members achieve unanimous success, they should pay more attention to each other, cooperate with other parties and work harder than now. I noticed that the acting president was urging them to do more in relation to other parties.

In the 34th anniversary official statement of the NLD party center, it said:  in 2019, the NLD accepted the 6 federal principles guided by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and said that they were preparing for the emergence of a transitional constitution. It is worth pointing out that they did not explicitly say whether they are the same as the Road Map of the current mainstream NUCC-CRPH-NUG.

However, the leader of the party abroad and also the chairman of CRPH, U Aung Kyi Nyunt, said: “We are already seeing the end of the terrorist military council’s military influence of bullying and domination as the last generation to disappear soon. The victory of all ethnic peoples will be achieved with the same effort,” he said. If so, it may be concluded that their party is in agreement with the Spring Revolution and the people.

It can also be seen in the words of one of the party’s chairmen, Mann Jonny, that there seems to be an internal conflict regarding the party’s standing. National League for Democracy chairman Man Jonny said this.

“The history of our National League for Democracy is the history of the people. The suffering of the people is the suffering of our league. Just like what our leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, if there are people, there will be a party. Because our league is based on the people, we want them to remember that we will never leave and betray the people whatever the cause is,” he said.

Therefore, I don’t think it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that the NLD party is still between 2 issues to be clear in its relationship with the military council and with the NUCC, CRPH and NUG forces, which include many members of the NLD party and the Spring Revolution forces.

If we look back at the history of the NLD party, we can see that they have defiantly survived by escaping from various shadows of dictators. If you think of NLD as a school, it’s like students who have attended under various principals. Many batches / graduates of the NLD generation have emerged under former military leaders like U Tin Oo, U Kyi Maung, U Aung Gyi, U Aung Shwe, and U Lwin; under senior civilian intellectuals and former politicians like U Win Tin and Aung San Suu Kyi. They have experienced under various party administrations with different attitudes and perceptions of leadership. If we look at the Spring Revolution, the time has come for the last NLD batch / graduates (generation of 96, saffron generation, generation that passed 2012 by-election, 2015 and 2020 general elections) to get out of the old generation’s shadow and multi-faceted authoritarianism by entering the spring federal revolution that will end the dictatorial generation and struggle. I hope that the last NLD party batch or graduates will be better students than teachers. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself did say that she would welcome the time when the country no longer needed her.

We only want to see a future country where the older generations themselves will be proud and follow the leadership of the new generation. I think they have thought about what and where the NLD party has been for 34 years.