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Myanmar Opposition Recruiting Allies Ahead of Elections


Ko Ko Gyi, a leader of Myanmar Prominent 88 Generation Student Group, talks to journalists during a press briefing at their 88 Generation Students Peace and Open Society Office Monday, June 15, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. Ko Ko Gyi, a former political pris

Myanmar's main opposition National League for Democracy is reaching out to other activists to bolster its position ahead of elections later this year.

The party, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has invited former student leaders and veteran politicians to join the NLD as candidates in November.

A leading member of 1988 student protests, Ko Ko Gyi, told VOA Burmese he has decided to join the NLD, and fellow activists also are considering a similar move.

[[((Opt Act - Ko Ko Gyi - in Burmese))

“I will join [with the NLD]. I’ve already stated my intention to enter parliamentary politics. Now that leaders of 88 Generation group begins to migrate to parliamentary politics, we’re discussing [with the NLD] details of the election and candidates. But we don’t have any differences on basic principles.”]]

Veteran politician Thein Lwin, who was suspended from the NLD central committee earlier this year, also has announced he will contest the election. An education expert, he is a founding member of the National Network for Education Reform (NNER), a network formed in 2012 by education advocacy groups and some political parties, including the NLD.

ေဒါက္တာသိန္းလြင္ NNER
ေဒါက္တာသိန္းလြင္ NNER

[[((Opt Act - Thein Lwin - in Burmese))

“The NLD asked me to apply as a candidate Sunday, while the party’s branch office in the Bago region also asked me to join. I then met with district and divisional level executive members and they recommended I represent Shwekyin Township, where there’s a vacancy for a candidate. So, I formally submitted my application.”]]

Last week, veteran women's rights activist Zin Mar Aung also accepted an invitation to run for parliament as a member of the NLD.

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NLD executive member Nyan Win told VOA Burmese that potential candidates are first required to apply for party membership before they can run as candidates.

((Act - Nyan Win- in Burmese))

“We encourage them to join with us (the NLD) and asked them to apply from a certain township they would like to represent," he said.

Support of prominent activists is expected to boost chances of the NLD party to challenge the ruling party backed by the military in the poll.

General elections scheduled for November 8 will be the first since the country ended decades of military rule in 2011. The military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won the last general election in 2010, a vote that was boycotted by the NLD.

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