'The Future Of The Party'

In her latest weekly conversation with listeners, Aung San Suu Kyi discusses upcoming by-elections and Burma accepting the role of the ASEAN presidency.


Q:  It is now a year since you were released from house arrest. How do you assess the work that you have done during this period? Also, do you believe that Burma is close to achieving democracy?

A:  There have been a lot of questions with regard to what I have done since I was released a year ago, so I will hold a press conference on Nov. 14 and will talk about the matter extensively. I will also answer questions from the journalists. All of this will be posted on the NLD website, so please be patient and wait until then to get the answers to your question. For those who ask if we are close to achieving democracy in Burma, I would always answer by saying that one will be able to judge this by seeing how much one has also done to achieve this end.

Q:  Can you tell me if the decision for the NLD to register [as a political party] and participate in the coming by-elections will be made solely by the NLD leaders, or will the wishes of grass-roots NLD members also be taken into consideration?

A:  All of the NLD central committee members from all over the country have been invited [to be in Rangoon] on Nov. 18. We will decide the future of the party at that meeting. It has been some time now since we have had NLD offices in the villages and towns across the country, and we have not held a party general assembly for a long time, so the central committee members will try to get the views of the grass-roots NLD members as much as they can.

Q:  I have recently been hearing reports that the NLD will register with the Election Commission and that it will participate in by-elections. As I understand it, the NLD did not accept the 2008 Constitution because there were aspects of the constitution that were undemocratic, and therefore the NLD opposed the 2010 elections. If the NLD now participates in elections and gets into parliament, can changes be made to those parts of the 2008 Constitution to which people are opposed?

A:  Decisions on whether or not the NLD will register or participate in elections will be made at the Nov. 18 meeting of the NLD central committee. We will also hold discussions on the consequences of such decisions. I think that it would not be appropriate to answer your questions before those discussions are held, so please understand why I have not answered your question at this time. Information regarding the discussions at the meeting will also reach the media, so you will get to know about it.

Q:  I have heard that you met with the Indonesian foreign minister, who came to Burma to consider the matter of whether to give the ASEAN rotating presidency to Burma. Can you tell me what kind of issues you discussed at the meeting? Do you think that Burma is prepared to accept the duties of the ASEAN rotating presidency in 2014?

A:  I spoke to the media after my meeting with the Indonesian foreign minister. If I may sum up, what I said was that I would like the decision regarding the 2014 ASEAN rotating presidency to be something that all of the people of Burma—along with all of the people of ASEAN—would happily welcome. In other words, the decision should be made at a time when the situation in the country and the desires of the people of Burma indicate that Burma deserves to be given the presidency. I think that the answer to whether that time has arrived can only be found by taking into account the situation of the country and the people.

Q:  I heard in the news release made after your last meeting with Minister Aung Kyi that there have been discussions on giving amnesty to prisoners who “deserve” it. I understand that discussions were also held about the political prisoners who have not yet been released. Is it true that more political prisoners will be released soon? Do you see any possibility that prominent figures like Ko Min Ko Naing and U Khun Tun Oo will be released by the government? And how many more do you think will be released?

A:  We will continue to resolutely work for and demand the release of all political prisoners as soon as possible. Because of our efforts, I think it will not be too long before all of the political prisoners will be released. But saying this does not mean that we will just wait for it to happen. We will continue to work so that this can be accomplished smoothly.

Broadcast on Nov. 11, 2011.


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