Burma's Opposition Re-Elects Suu Kyi

Party looking to infuse new blood, but keeps longtime leader

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Mar 10, 2013 5:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Aung San Suu Kyi was selected today to remain head of Myanmar's main opposition party, keeping her leadership post even as the party undergoes a makeover to adjust to the country's new democratic framework. The Nobel laureate was named chairwoman of the National League for Democracy's new executive board on the final day of a landmark three-day party congress attended by 894 delegates from around the country. "We need experienced members who know the policies, tradition, and history of the party and who had been in the party for the last 25 years," said Suu Kyi. "After some time, the younger generation will take over their place. There should be connectivity between the past, present, and future."

The party is seeking to infuse its ranks with new faces, expertise and diversity without sidelining long-standing members. "We have to see how effectively and efficiently the new leaders can perform their duties," said Suu Kyi, who has led the NLD since its inception in 1988. "We hope they will learn through experience." Suu Kyi is the sole holdover from the party's original executive board when it was founded, but the other new members are also mostly long-serving party loyalists. She said the NLD would go through an experimental stage with the new leadership and should anticipate some obstacles but "not be discouraged."

Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.   (Khin Maung Win)
Delegates listen as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the first congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Delegates listen as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the first congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.   (Khin Maung Win)
Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the second day session of first ever congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the second day session of first ever congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.   (Khin Maung Win)
Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the second day session of first ever congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013. Suu Kyi has been elected head of the new executive board of Myanmar's opposition National...
Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during the second day session of first ever congress of her National League for Democracy party at Royal Rose restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday,...   (Khin Maung Win)
Aung San Suu Kyi and senior leaders of her National League for Democracy party attend a congress of her National League for Democracy party in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Aung San Suu Kyi and senior leaders of her National League for Democracy party attend a congress of her National League for Democracy party in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.   (Khin Maung Win)
Aung San Suu Kyi talks during a press briefing at the second day session of first congress of her National League for Democracy party in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Aung San Suu Kyi talks during a press briefing at the second day session of first congress of her National League for Democracy party in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, March 10, 2013.   (Khin Maung Win)
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