National League for Democracy (NLD) Central Executive Committee member U Aung Kyi Nyunt says the military regime’s plan to abolish the party is a plot to illegally win the next general election.
“As they know, there is no way to compete against the most popular party so they are trying to eliminate the NLD before holding an election,” he told ‘The Irrawaddy’.
U Aung Kyi Nyunt, 70, who chairs the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) formed by MPs who won seats in the 2020 general election, said: “But it won’t be possible as it is clear from the beginning that this is not fair and the people won’t accept it.”
The NLD came to power after a landslide victory in the 2015 general election and won an even greater majority in November last year. It was set to start a second term but the military seized power on Feb. 1 and arrested most of the party leaders, including State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.
(Photo: U Aung Kyi Nyunt)
The regime justified the coup by accusing the NLD of manipulating the vote, despite no international or domestic election monitoring groups finding any significant evidence of electoral fraud. The junta annulled the results of the election in which the military proxy parties suffered heavy defeats.
It pledged to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.
Its handpicked electoral body chairman U Thein Soe, a former general, announced in a meeting with various political parties in late May that the NLD must be disbanded for “committing voter fraud” last year. He also dubbed the NLD leadership “traitors” for “rigging” the vote and said the commission will consider taking action against the party.
U Aung Kyi Nyunt said the public support could not be discarded by orders from the regime-appointed electoral commission.
“The NLD will be there, as long as the people are,” he said, repeating Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s message to the public in reference to the regime’s attempt to dissolve her party.
Last week, the regime’s Ministry of Home Affairs started a probe into whether any political parties have had contact with the CRPH or the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), both of which the regime has designated terrorist organizations and unlawful associations.
The NUG was formed by the CRPH as a shadow government to rival the military regime.
The Political Parties Registration Law empowers the authorities to abolish parties with links to terrorist or unlawful associations.
The move was viewed as an attempt by the regime to provide legal cover to dissolve the NLD. Many NLD members and lawmakers face arrest warrants for having links with the CRPH and NUG.
More than 200 NLD members are still in custody, including ministers, lawmakers, central executive committee members, state and regional members and youth members. Several members have been killed while in detention. Numerous party members are in hiding and all the NLD offices have closed.
Many NLD members were former political prisoners under previous juntas.
“Party offices were sealed off. Party members, even at ward and village tract levels, are being arrested. However, the NLD can’t be annihilated through these terror crimes,” U Aung Kyi Nyunt said.
The veteran politician, who was also re-elected in last year’s election, said the revolution, which began with anti-regime protests, will produce democracy.
“We elected lawmakers will try to uphold our duties and responsibilities entrusted by the people,” he said.
(By arrangement with ‘The Irrawaddy’)