Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Saturday that her political party was on the road to becoming more democratic at its first congress this weekend.
Democracy isn’t perfect, but I think it is the best one among the existing systems,” Ms. Suu Kyi said, borrowing a quip by Winston Churchill decades ago.
The National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Suu Kyi since its founding in 1988, has been faulted for its centralized political structure, run by appointed officers.
That structure is due to change. The NLD launched its first congress on Friday, when it voted in its 120-member central committee.
Thirty auxiliary central committee members were appointed by the old executive committee Saturday morning, as its last act of centralized decision making.
A new executive committee will be voted in Saturday afternoon, NLD sources said.
Ms. Suu Kyi urged the 862 party members gathered in Yangon for the congress to vote for “the right leaders for the people and future of the country without considering personal matters.” Over the past 25 years, all NLD positions have been appointed. The congress will mark a transition for the party with a new, younger, better-educated and elected leadership, observers said.
“The elected central committee includes many new members, such as Thein Win, a medical doctor who studied abroad and just joined the party last year,” said one NLD member who asked to remain anonymous.
On Sunday, the congress will vote for a new chairperson, presumably re-electing Ms. Suu Kyi, 67, who has come to personify the opposition movement in Myanmar over the past two decades.
Ms. Suu Kyi became a member of parliament last year after she and 42 other NLD members won seats in an April 1 by-election.
The NLD won 80 per cent of the contested seats in the 1990 polls but was blocked by the military from taking power. It is preparing for the next general election due in 2015.