Last modified on 18 March 2015, at 05:21

National League for Democracy

National League for Democracy
အမ်ိဳးသား ဒီမိုကေရစီ အဖြဲ႕ခ်ဳပ္
English name National League for Democracy
Burmese name အမျိုးသား ဒီမိုကရေစီ အဖွဲ့ချုပ်
Chairperson and
General Secretary
Aung San Suu Kyi
Vice Chairman Tin Oo
Founded 27 September 1988 (1988-09-27)
Headquarters 97B West Shwegondaing Road,[1] Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
Ideology Anti-military junta,
Democratic socialism,[2]
Liberal socialism (partially),
Social democracy,
Liberal democracy
International affiliation Socialist International,[3]
Progressive Alliance,[4]
Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (observer)[5]
Colors Red
Seats in the Amyotha Hluttaw
4 / 224
Seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw
37 / 440
Politics of Burma
Political parties

The National League for Democracy (Burmese: အမျိုးသား ဒီမိုကရေစီ အဖွဲ့ချုပ်, IPA: [ʔəmjóðá dìmòkəɹèsì ʔəpʰwḛdʑoʊʔ]) is a social democratic-liberal Burmese political party founded on 27 September 1988. Special Honorary President of the Socialist International[6][7] and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi serves as its General Secretary. The party won a substantial parliamentary majority in the 1990 Burmese general election. However, the ruling military junta refused to recognize the result. On 6 May 2010, the party was declared illegal and ordered to be disbanded by the junta after refusing to register for the elections slated for November 2010.[8] In November 2011, the NLD announced its intention to register as a political party in order to contend future elections and on 13 December 2011, Burma's Union Election Commission approved their application for registration.[9] In the 2012 by-elections, except for one seat lost to SNDP (Kyar Phyu Party), NLD won 43 seats in which it had contested 44 seats, out of the 45 seats where elections were held.[10] Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi won from the seat of Kawhmu.[11]


The NLD was formed in the aftermath of the 8888 Uprising, a series of protests in favour of democracy which took place in 1988 and was ended when the military took control of the country in a coup. It formed under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Aung San, a pivotal figure in the Burmese independence movement of the 1940s.

In the 1990 parliamentary elections, the party took 59% of the vote and won 392 out of 492 contested seats, compared to 10 seats won by the governing National Unity Party.[12] However, the ruling military junta (formerly SLORC, later known as the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC) did not let the party form a government.[13] Soon after the election, the party was repressed and in 1989 Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. This was her status for 16 of the following 21 years. She was most recently released on 13 November 2010. A number of senior NLD members escaped arrest, however, and formed the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB).

In 2001, the government permitted NLD office branches to re-open throughout Burma and freed some imprisoned members.[14] In May 2002, NLD's General Secretary, Aung San Suu Kyi was again released from house arrest. She and other NLD members made numerous trips throughout the country and received support from the public. However, on their trip to Depayin township in May 2003, dozens of NLD members were shot and killed in a government sponsored massacre. Its General Secretary, Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputy, U Tin Oo were again arrested.[15]

From 2004, the government prohibited the activities of the party. In 2006, many members resigned from NLD, citing harassment and pressure from the Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) and the Union Solidarity and Development Association.

The NLD boycotted the general election held in November 2010 because many of its most prominent members were barred from standing. The laws were written in such a way that the party would have had to expel these members in order to be allowed to run. This decision, taken in May, led to the party being officially banned.[8] A splinter group named the National Democratic Force broke away from the NLD to contest the elections,[16] but secured less than 3% of the vote. The election was won in a landslide by the military-backed USDP and was described by Barack Obama as "stolen".[17]

Discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government during 2011, which led to a number of official gestures to meet her demands. In October, around a tenth of Burma's political prisoners were freed in an amnesty and trade unions were legalised.[18][19]

On 18 November 2011, following a meeting of its leaders, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order contend 48 by-elections necessitated by the promotion of parliamentarians to ministerial rank.[20] Following the decision, Suu Kyi held a telephone conference with Barack Obama, in which it was agreed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a visit to Burma, a move received with caution by Burma's ally China.[21] The visit took place on 30 November.[22] European Union vice-president Catherine Ashton welcomed the possibility of "fair and transparent" elections in Burma, and said that the EU would be reviewing its foreign policy towards the country.[23]

Party platformEdit

National League for Democracy Head Office in Yangon

The party advocates a non-violent movement towards multi-party democracy in Burma, under military rule from 1962 to 2011.[24] The party also supports human rights (including broad-based freedom of speech), the rule of law, and national reconciliation.[25]

In a speech of 13 March 2012, Suu Kyi demanded, in addition to the above, independence of the judiciary, full freedom for the media, and increasing social benefits to include legal aid.

She also claimed amendments to the constitution of 2008, drafted with the input of the armed forces. She stated that its mandatory granting of 25 per cent of seats in parliament to appointed military representatives is undemocratic.[1]

Party symbolsEdit

The party flag features the peacock, a prominent symbol of Burma. The Dancing Peacock (the Peacock in courtship or in display of his feathers) was numerously featured in Burma monarchic flags as well as other nationalist symbols in the country.[26] The Fighting Peacock is associated with decades-long democratic struggle against military dictatorship in the country. The latter closely resembles a Green Peafowl, as it has a tufted crest. The NLD party symbol is adopted from the Myanmar (Burmese) Student Union flag. This student union organized since the uprising against the British colonys in Burma, years before the independence of Burma in 1948, had played a major political role in Burma and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's late father Bogyoke Aung San (General Aung San) was one of the former presidents of the Rangoon University Student Union.

The party emblem is a traditional bamboo hat (ခမောက်).[27]

Election resultsEdit

House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw)Edit

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
0 / 224
Steady; Boycotted Aung San Suu Kyi
(after) 2012
4 / 224
Increase5 seats; Opposition Aung San Suu Kyi

House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw)Edit

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
392 / 492
7,930,841 52.5% Increase392 seats; not recognized Aung San Suu Kyi
0 / 440
Boycotted Aung San Suu Kyi
(after) 2012
37 / 440
Increase37 seats; Opposition Aung San Suu Kyi


Election Seats up for election Seats contested by party Contested seats won Contested seats lost Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election
2012 37 (Pyithu) / 5 (Amyotha) 37 (Pyithu) / 5 (Amyotha) 37 (Pyithu) / 4 (Amyotha) 0 (Pyithu) / 1 (Amyotha) 41 seats gain from USDP

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Frangos, Alex; Patrick Barta (30 March 2012). "Once-Shunned Quarters Becomes Tourist Mecca". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Observer Parties
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "National League for Democracy disbanded in Myanmar". Haiti News. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  9. ^ Suu Kyi's Myanmar opposition party wins legal status, The Associated Press, 13 December 2011
  10. ^ "It is the victory of the people: Aung San Suu Kyi on Myanmar – World News – IBNLive". 10 May 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "The disappearing virtual library – Opinion". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Houtman, Daigaku & Kenkyūjo, 1999, p. 1
  13. ^ Junta must free Burma's leading lady, The Australian, 19 May 2009
  14. ^ Burma's Confidence Building and Political Prisoners, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
  15. ^ "The Depayin Massacre: Two years on, Justice denied". Asean Inter-parliamentary Myanmar caucus. 30 May 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "New Burmese opposition party to contest election". London: The Guardian. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "15,000 flee Burma in post-election violence". CBC News. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "Burma frees dozens of political prisoners". BBC News. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "Burma law to allow labour unions and strikes". BBC News. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Suu Kyi's NLD democracy party to rejoin Burma politics". BBC News. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  21. ^ Whitlock, Craig (19 November 2011). "U.S. sees Burma reforms as strategic opening to support democracy". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "'Hopeful' Hillary Clinton starts Burma visit". BBC News. 30 November 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  23. ^ "EU hails Myanmar moves, reviewing policy". Reuters. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "Aung San Suu Kyi released". CBC News. 13 November 2010. 
  25. ^ "Suu Kyi calls for talks with junta leader". CBC News. 14 November 2010. 
  26. ^ "Burma flag and emblems". Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  27. ^ Hla Tun, Aung (3 July 2010). "Burmese democrats fall out over bamboo hat symbol". The Independent (London). Retrieved 19 November 2011. 


External linksEdit